Is the Coalition here to stay?

Normally politically quiet, the Christmas period has, this year at least, been rather busy and significant. The most significant thing has been the lead taken by the Daily Telegraph in doing everything it can to undermine the Coalition by printing a series of stories about what Liberal Democrat ministers really think. As a paper it has joined Conservative Home in the lead of the anti-Coalition Conservatives. If Jeremy Hunt fails to deliver the goods (and maybe even if he does) I would expect the Murdoch Press to suddenly find a critical voice too. They will lay off Cameron for the moment but show no mercy to the Liberal Democrats who, having been outed as ‘unreliable’, will be targeted and quite viscously I would imagine.

Unloved by anybody except the Cameroons you might feel sympathy for the Liberal Democrats were it not for the fact that they brought this totally on themselves. The Cameroons are doing their best for their hapless side-kicks; even going so far today as to suggest today that the Coalition might continue but they are in no position to promise anything. The reality is the anti-Coalition Conservatives command the clear and overwhelming majority at every level of the Party.

The only way for the Coalition to continue would be for both leaderships to be prepared to rupture both their parties. What does this mean for Labour? I personally, think the shine is coming off the idea of ‘coalition’ and ‘consensus’ politics. People will still say they are in favour of it because it sounds nice but in practice I think people overwhelmingly dont want the negative consequences of broken promises and weak government.

Arguing Labour should adopt a more ‘pluralist’ approach to politics is therefore in one sense mistaken. Within the, admittedly narrow, confines of Westminster furthermore the number of viable suitors is non-existent. The Liberal Democrats, even their left-wing, have spent so long bashing Labour already; especially over the deficit, its hard to see majority support for a coalition with them ever happening. Sadly, the Greens who I would consider as more natural allies in some regards are too numerically weak to be viable.

While plurality at Westminster is without a shadow of a doubt of the question and an unacceptable course for Labour to take; the prospect does exist for ‘plurality’ from below within the various opposition movements to the government. This principled plurality has a future as an opposed concept to the rotten and discredited ‘plurality’ Cameron and Clegg are in favour of; based, as it is not on a surrendering of identity or bartering of promises but consistent work and struggle together towards a mutual end. This is the kind of unity that could last because its built on solid foundations, unlike the Coalition which is a house of cards built on sand…..


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About darrellgoodliffe


6 responses to “Is the Coalition here to stay?”

  1. Doktorb says :

    I reply as somebody who does NOT want joint-ticket candidates, at all, whatsoever!

    It’s interesting to observe the reaction to the Coalition. Its obituary has been drafted since the agreement was signed, which suggests people are more impatient than I feared in the UK! It would seem people are hungry for another bit of “he said, she said” Village tittle-tattle.

    There is very little in the ‘trouble’ reported over the past few weeks. This is a Coalition of political rivals, not a merger, and not a takeover. Joint-ticket candidates would seriously jeopardy arguments we make today for an election in the future, but also I suggest seriously weaken democracy generally. There would be no vibrant debate and little policy discussion.

    Labour are not in the driving seat at the moment, they just think they are. It would be foolish to hand them the keys buy joint-ticketing.

    I’ve just renewed my LibDem membership and cannot wait to take the message to the people over the next few years….as a LibDem 🙂


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well I wasnt saying it was going to die tomorrow though I do personally view it as highly unlikely it will last. I was merely articulating what you yourself want; that there will be no joint tickets.

    I agree about the anti-democratic nature of a joint ticket. Your wrong however about the significance of the last couple of weeks. The significance is that significant and power anti-Coalition alliance has emerged within and to some extent without the confines of the largest Party within the Coalition. This alliance isnt at the stage where it will actively move to bring the government down but give it time, it will get there and with the attacks from the left which will also intensify it will succeed, probably sooner rather than later.

    They are but only by accident and not by brilliant design on their part. Well good for you but I think you will find the people aren’t particularly interested in the Lib Dems message anymore. The loss of trust of their voters in their Party is terminal I would say.


  3. Mike Simpson says :

    Speaking as a 2010 Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate I believe that Nick Clegg inflicted deep damage to Lib Dem credibility on 9th December 2010 with the tuition fees vote.

    I was in the heart of Parliament Square during the student protest on that day and that evening I attended a meeting inside Parliament so I saw things from both sides of the barricades!


    Mike Simpson


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Thanks for your comment. I believe your right and the thing is, had you not entered into a formal Coalition but instead given ‘supply and confidence’ you could have stopped what happened on the 9th and your credibility would be in greater tact.

    Im sure you do and credit to you for standing with the students. The thing is that Nick Clegg hasn’t just damaged your Party but he has probably destroyed the credibility of Parliamentary democracy with a generation too. I hope this can lead to positive change but if it leads to negative change, it’s on Clegg’s head….

    Thanks for the link, an interesting read.


  5. Mike Simpson says :

    I agree that Clegg’s action in reneging on an explicit public and personal commitment to ‘to vote against any increase in fees in the next Parliament’ has damaged the whole credibility of Parliament democracy amongst many (perhaps millions), particularly young people who feel betrayed having voted for the Lib Dems. This is unforgivable.


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Cant really add anything to that….totally agree…


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