The Poisoned Party….
No words quite sum-up the Liberal Democrat’s election night performance like their election result in Edinburgh, where they were famously beaten by a man dressed in a penguin suit called Professor Pongoo. In fact, you feel that if syphilis ceased to become a sexually transmitted disease, actually assumed human form (probably a puss-oozing and revolting human form) and then ran for election, the chances of it polling more votes than the Liberal Democrat candidate would be very high indeed. They have entered the final circle of political hell; people don’t really hate them that much anymore, they just find them funny and mock them. Political death always follows on from mockery, and just in case you were wondering, that is something that is incurable. This is because if your being mocked it shows that people don’t even think your credible enough to hate and it is a pretty fair bet if people feel this way about you, the chances of them even trusting you to organise your weekly rubbish collection are minimal.
Put plainly and simply, there is no way for the Liberal Democrats to survive in their current form. People will point to their better-than-appalling performance where they are more established, ie, have sitting MP’s and there is truth in that. However, the decimation of their nationwide activist base makes this an irrelevance, sure there will be little enclaves of yellow left on the election map after the next General Election but in time even they will, one-by-one, wink out of existence as losses elsewhere take their toll and the established figures gradually retire, leaving the Lib Dems in the same electoral swamp they are sunk in elsewhere. They are getting what they deserve; they set out to be a ‘reforming’ and ‘restraining’ influence and have succeeded in being neither. All of the reforms they have introduced have been poisoned. The referendum on voting reform was compromised by offering the voters a worse system than the current one; it’s inevitable loss has killed the cause of voting reform for a decade at least. On tax, their income tax changes, worth barely a pittance in the first place, have been totally negated by the rest of the governments fiscal measures and sharp and punitive on the poor tax rises and service cuts. Finally, House of Lords reform looks to have been shelved and even if it isnt, it leaves alot to be desired; for example, it stops well short of an entirely elected chamber and introduces mind-boggling 15 year terms for even elected entrants to the second chamber. Meanwhile, the decimation of the National Health Service, the public sector, and welfare state continues apace, unchecked and even actively cheered on by aptly designated yellow ministers. Mr Clegg has developed the reverse-Midas touch, everything he and his Party touch turns to dust and vapour and rather than being remembered as the Party that changed British politics for good, they will forever be remembered as the butchers of the NHS.
UKIP did not increase their actual representation but they did dramatically increase their vote share, a sure sign that with better targeting of resources, etc, etc, they are a heartbeat away from greater representation. They are not only snapping at the Lib Dems heels but chewing them like a distended bone that has been gnawed beyond recognition by a playful Rottweiler. I feel for some of those still left amid this train wreck because they are decent people committed to social progress. However, they have to realise that the Liberal Democrat Party is effectively dead as a viable vehicle that can deliver that progress. The only choice left to them is leave and, if they cannot stomach joining formally with Labour,to start from scratch vow never again will the likes of Nick Clegg be allowed to run a Party into the ground, to the point where it is dying not to a hurricane of howls of anguished bitterness but rather howling, mocking and biting laughter.