The Marmite Coalition…..
You either love it or loath it; that is rapidly becoming the mood of the country with regard to its new government. A section of the Liberal Democrats already seem blind in their rather desperate devotion bourne of high expectations dashed against the rock of reality and a long exile from power. However, those more realistic and in tune with their political principles are bitterly and rightly disappointed. The same is true of the Conservative right meaning there is a strange commonality between people who feel strongly that principles in politics matter on both the right and left of Britain’s political spectrum; divided fundamentally but united in their hatred of the Faustian Pact concocted by Cameron and Clegg. We have already seen the practical results of this in the united strength of feeling against the 55% fix with Conservative backbenchers echoing Labour front benchers.
Alot of claims and counter claims have been thrown about regarding this; I have seen so many semantic contortions desperately trying to justify this frankly outrageous attack on democracy it is untrue. People need to know one thing and one thing only; even if it is brought down, the governing party can retain its position by striking a bargain with another party and continue to govern with no democratic mandate from the people or the majority of the legislature. So much for all those Liberal Democrat’s and Conservatives who bitterly attacked Brown as an ‘unelected’ Prime Minister; those same people are now saying the 55% fix does not matter because the people do not elect their government, which will be news to alot of people, in a desperate bid to justify their gerrymander.
I have been told that the purpose of this measure is to protect fixed term Parliaments. Nothing could be further from the truth as a senior Liberal Democrat told Newsnight;
“It prevents a surprise attack on the Conservatives by everybody else: it is as simple as that”
Is it necessarily true that legislatures which have a fixed-term require this super majority? The simple answer is no and to insist otherwise is bordering on an outright lie. Fixed-term legislatures, like Canada’s, still maintain mechanisms for the legislature to force an early dissolution which require a simple majority; including clearly defined issues which defeat on bypasses the need even for a confidence vote. If you want to know the true purpose of this fix then look no further than the quote above.
So this is what democracy and democratic reform means from the Liberal Democrats; they are the Party not of radical change but the gerrymander and ‘fix-it-in-our-favour’ democracy. You need look no further than their internal democracy to see what the committment to ‘fairness’ and ‘radical change’ means when power is threatened; rather than having their ‘special conference’ in the open, the press will be excluded so they can once again perform a surgical stich-up behind closed doors. Meanhile, the right to dissent is systimatically destroyed and spat upon.
Opportunists to the core they and the government they support are bigger threats to the cause of reform than reactionaries in the Conservative Party who never wanted change because they will tarnish it in the minds of the electorate and the wider public to the point where real, meaningful change will be impossible, due to being highly unpopular, for decades to come. ‘Liberservatism’ will not usher in any reform that will last longer than this already failing experiment in government (under a week in and already it is facing its first major Parliamentary defeat in the Commons); therefore any short-term loss to the reforming cause is worth the long-term gain from deposing this government at the earliest possible opportunity and replacing it with one committed to real change.