Liberal Democrats clap as they are led like lambs to the slaughter…

Towards the end of the last Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith, the now Emperor Palpatine makes a grand speech about the birth of the Empire. Padame, the tragic heroine, opines ‘so this is how democracy dies…to thunderous applause’. Substitute ‘democracy’ for Liberal Democrat Party and you have close to how things felt at the close of Nick Clegg’s conference speech today.  They applauded, cheered and probably stamped their feet as their deluded leader left the podium having pronounced the end of his Party. It will be tough but dont worry folks because in 2015 we will live in a totally different Britain was the basic message. Clegg is right. In all likelihood by then Britain, having been on the cusp of economic recovery in 2010, will be in the doldrums of stagnation or worse, in the teeth of a new recession by 2015.

Westminster will still be elected under First Past the Post and House of Lords reform (‘a third term issue according to Clegg’s partner, Mr Cameron) will still be being discussed in committee because the failure of the AV Referendum will see Cameron’s reforming zeal somewhat diminished;

‘Nick, my friend, like you have said reducing the deficit, smashing the trade unions and stamping on the heads of poor is the priority’

he will say. ‘We will not return to the 1980’s’ -Clegg said, unable to appreciate the irony of delivering a Thatcherite speech, even to the point of using exactly the same metaphors proclaiming ‘Thatcherism is dead’. He may have a point; this government will probably spend less than Thatcher and will probably stamp all over the middle classes much more and thus suffer the indignity of uniting everybody from the super rich down against it in opposition. Underpinning Clegg’s speech was another Thatcherite message; There Is No Alternative. For somebody who is supposedly in favour of pluralism Clegg is remarkably inflexible in how he thinks which rather gives the lie to the claim he embodies a new, more consensual kind of politics. Some Labour Party comrades like this but I do not and I would say that ‘pluralism’ will  soon become a dirty political word that people will come to be seen as a by-word for selling out.

No self-respecting Labour Party would ever ally with a Party which had Clegg its helm after having heard him pay fast and loose with the facts in trashing the previous government. Fast and loose with the fact that in gentler times most of what Labour did was supported by? You guessed it. The Liberal Democrats. Clegg thundered on about removing people from income tax (the same people who will get disproportionately hammered by a VAT hike) and ending ID cards (this government seems awfully fond of using lie detector tests) as if he was a great leader, which he isnt. He declared war on tax evaders (using private companies to chase the same people who run them) as well as welfare cheats without any understanding of the relative cost of the two problems. Barely a billion spent on this but as much as £15billion slashed from the welfare bill just as people are being thrown on the dole. I defy a Liberal Democrat to explain the ‘fairness’ of that. If you look beneath the surface and who does Clegg really want to target? Organised criminal gangs who evade tax because errr durrr they are criminals. So much for making the rich pay, Gideon’s best friends can sleep contentedly on their yachts.

Clegg’s liberalism is class war that makes pretensions and po-faced noises about fairness and treats people like fools. Maybe it is not as naked and unbridled as Thatcherism but the end results are still the same and, I have to say, I prefer the stark honesty of Thatcher to Clegg’s hocus-pocus anyday. Looking at the opinion polls it is looking already like the razzel-dazzel of the Clegg machine is becoming a tired old act. Long may that continue and now matter how hard they clap – Liberal Democrats are still being led like lambs to electoral slaughter.


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7 responses to “Liberal Democrats clap as they are led like lambs to the slaughter…”

  1. mommsen says :

    “Clegg’s liberalism is class war”

    Yes, but the same is true for New Labour.

    The pseudo-liberalism of Clegg (and the economic policies of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, the Miliband brothers, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel) is now mandatory economic policy for all governments of all EU member states.

    Only those who are NOT familiar with the content of the Lisbon Treaty, have NOT realized yet that the Lisbon Treaty is nothing else but a a treaty which defines the economic policy which all governments of EU member states have to follow at home.

    Democracy is history.

    So is political debate on economic policy.

    In the new EUrope there is no alternative.

    There’s nothing left but “la pensée unique” (as the French call all those neoliberal ideas).

    Neoliberalism is NOT capitalism. It’s worse.
    It’s also not a free market system (something for which Mrs Thatcher had fought when she was Prime MInister).

    Neoliberalism is something else.
    It’s socialism in a liberal disguise.

    The only difference is that those who support the neoliberalism (or the NEW Labour policies of Blair, Brown, the Milibands, Mandelson, Cameron and Clegg) do not have any intention to take anything from the rich and to give it to the poor.

    Oh no. They want to do it the other way around. They want to take from the poor and give it to the rich.

    That’s why investment bankers get their bonuses. Who cares that their businesses have failed?

    In a free market system those failed banks would never have been able to survive.
    But the NEW socialists (i.e. the neoliberals) made sure that the banks would be rescued.

    Of course, the vast majority of the population is having to pay the price for it.

    Who else could do it?

    In every socialist system it’s not the elite which suffers.
    It’s the vast majority of the people.

    In this regard neoliberalism is no exception.

    Eventually, most parts of Europe will look like Third World countries.
    So there will be a few rich people on the hand, and many poor people on the other hand. The gap between the rich and the poor is already widening now.

    So the Lisbon Treaty works according to plan.

    Therefore I’d like to congratulate Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg. (They stood together to make their MPs vote against the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty which both parties – Labour and the Lib Dems – had promised their voters in 2005).


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I pretty much agree with your chracterisation of New Labour; this is why the Blairites were always so keen on doing a deal with the Liberal Democrats.

    I dont agree about neoliberalism being socialism though. On what grounds do you say that? It is not even socialist in its statist, more Keynesian sense.

    Yes the banks were saved; I supported this because the ruin of capitalism in a negative sense is a bad thing and I have to say do you not think ordinary people would have suffered greatly had the banks collapsed?

    I agree the elites benefit and the masses suffer but that is capitalism, not socialism.

    I hope not; European intergration and Lisbon is something I am broadly in fabvour of as you know. Its progress. Not perfect but certainly an advance on the outmoded nation-state based way of governing.


  3. mommsen says :


    Unfortunately, it’s true that my previous comment was more than only a bit polemical. However, at least in the German langugage the word “socialism” has something to do with “socialising”.

    Isn’t the same also true for the English language?

    Let me just quote what the Conservative Tory MEP Daniel Hannan says in his blog today. There he claims to be “as angry as the next man when I see profits privatised and losses socialised.”

    Says Hannan, a Tory!

    Please let me also quote today’s leading article on the Independent’s website: “Britain is facing years of savage public spending cuts largely because of the failure of successive ministers and regulators to curb the recklessness of the banks.”

    Therefore I guess that the American author Gore Vidal was right when he labelled the current economic policy of Western governments as “socialism for the rich”.

    Probably even Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner of economics, would agree. Here is what he wrote in the New York Times: “…you can be sure that the people currently defending the incomes of the elite will go back to demanding cuts in Social Security and aid to the unemployed. America must make hard choices, they’ll say; we all have to be willing to make sacrifices.”

    Then Krugman added: “But when they say ‘we’, they mean ‘you’. Sacrifice is for the little people.”

    I’m afraid I’ve got nothing to add.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Thats quite alright. Some of the best replies often are. Yes I think that is true but I was thinking with my purely politics hat on.

    I think to be fair though what your picking up on there is the increaseingly anti-capitalist rhetoric of those desperate to save capitalism because its not as popular as it was.

    To my mind, socialism for the rich is something of a contradiction in terms. I think there is a serious point I made about what alternative their was; I feel that failing to bail out the banks would have been a disaster for people right across the income spectrum.


  5. mommsen says :


    You’re an excellent political blogger, and you’re a true republican (perhaps not in the British sense of the word) because you really care about the well-being of the general public. This is obvious to me.

    It’s also evident to me that you always ask yourself what might be the best political solution which might be in the best interest of the general public- and when you’ve found an answer, you campaign for it on this blog. This is a most respectable attitude – and it’s one of the reasons why I like your blog so much.

    If Britain had more citizens like you, it would be a happier nation today.

    With regard to socialism, I have to admit that I do not want to defend the word against its political enemies. I’m simply not a socialist. I’m a free marketeer because I believe that free markets can produce good economic results and that they can create a fair society too.

    However, in order to bring out the best results, free markets need regulation. Today’s problem is that those who do NOT believe in free markets, but who only represent what Thomas Jefferson has called “the monied interests”, are labelling all good ideas on regulation as “socialist ideas”. This is especially true for America and Germany. And this worries me.

    I’d like to turn their game around.

    I’m not willing to accept that those who are in favour of strict regulations are being labelled as “socialists” by those many pseudo-free-marketeers who always cut welfare for the poor while asking the taxpayers to pay for the survival of their own failed businesses, i.e. businesses which make these very people rich by making many people poor.

    What would Adam Smith say if he still was around?

    I think he would condemn todays pseudo-free-marketeers as much as I do.

    Those guys are just pretenders.

    They’re not the real thing, however their spin doctors are everywhere these days: they’re in the media, in parliament, in government.

    Will somebody please stand up tor the real thing?


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Thank you for the kind words. I am in the British sense of the word too in that I am for the abolition of the monarchy; other than that it tends to lack political meaning over here. Thank you very much for your kind words again, if this is the sense in which you mean the word I am happy to plead guilty as charged :).

    I think your right and although I am happy to be described as a socialist I think we would have common ground in that part of socialism is to call for the worst effects of capitalism to be mitigated by regulation. Like you say, free markets dont function when they are unregulated and the tendency of capital to concentrate leads to monopoly.

    However, since I am a socialist I want to move forward to a better future. I do not beleive this to be represented by the creation of a state-owned command economy but by the creation of a new economy within the old made up of mutuals and co-operatives. In certain sectors the terrain will also neccessitate heavy state involvement both to support and to maintain some kind of universal standard (like, for example, education and health) below which things cannot fall.

    I am still working out how this synthesis works to be honest. I agree on the representation of monied interests but the only way around that to my mind is to diffuse those interests and use the state as a weapon in that war because it is the only one which can equal the strength of its opponents.

    Who knows what Smith would say, probably baulk at how often he is invoked I would say.

    It seems you are doing a grand job of doing just that so please continue.


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