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November 08, 2010

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It was ambition for its own sake. The Lib Dem leadership has displayed a complete lack of principle and sincerity which is why so many students and others who voted for the Lib Dems quite rightly feel betrayed.

"Lets not give ourselves a headache" about actually trying to keep these promises we are making. It would be better to have no government at all rather than a vain one which is only interested in power.

DG

This is not about whether or not the Lib Dems were right to go into coalition, nor the election result. This is about the ethics of making a public pledge (in April?) while knowing damn well that the likelihood was that this pledge would not be kept (decided in March). It's not a complex issue at all.

HuwOS

It will of course be up to the LibDems, to show that they did get any of their policies implemented and that abandonment of some was in some way worth it for what they did get.
Whether they will be able to show that does seem unlikely, but it is a bit early to be calling it yet.

HuwOS

The policy, the massive debt burden, is wrong.

The government parties do need to be taken to task for it, something tricky to do in parliament given that they are only building on what the previous government and current "opposition" were doing.

But the situation is simply this, the LibDems could have not gone into coalition and had none of their policies implemented or enter into coalition, holding their noses on some policies to get even a small portion of their policies implemented.
People who voted LibDem, do need to remember that the electorate simply did not give their manifesto a mandate, less of a mandate even than the Labour party or the Tories.
Obviously the ideal breakdown from the closest ideological players would have been the Tory party and the New Labour cuckoos.
Allowing both the genuine Labour party and the Lib Dems to act as real opposition.

In the end, we don't elect parties to government, we elect individuals to parliament and it is then their job to form a government, if this did not happen we'd be having elections every couple of months.
The Lib Dems would have been blamed if we had had to have another election within months of the first one, despite the other options for government there were.
Going into this coalition will probably have damaged them, but it was the only workable arrangement available, with the situation suiting both other parties better.
They deserve some credit for making the extremely difficult decision even while we castigate the government that they are part of.

D.G.

I'm surprised you don't see that this is wrong, Huw.

If they'd been running on a platform of getting troops out of Afghanistan, then supported increasing troop numbers, and had decided that this would be their position in coalition even while signing pledges to bring the troops home, perhaps you'd have a sense of the betrayal that students are feeling now.

HuwOS


"Every single Lib Dem MP signed a pre-election NUS pledge card, in April, that clearly stated: "I pledge to vote against any increase in tuition fees in the next parliament"

There is much more of a valid point on that Ad.
Nonetheless, the LibDems were in a position where they could, keep to that pledge and we'd be having another election right now.
Or get what they could which they claim they have for part time students.

I still think that we have to accept that parties go into elections with policies that they say they will implement if they get a majority, even the LibDems, a coalition is different and you have to be prepared to concede issues, especially those that did not get a mandate from the electorate of any kind.
The Tories promised slash and burn and they got the most seats, that the LibDems try to put some control on the slashing and burning seems reasonable. That they will fail on most issues also seems likely given the weak hand they have to play. They can only play the hand they were dealt and the electorate doled out the cards.

Kay Tie

"Look there is plenty that this government is doing and going to do that will heartily make me despise each of its members"

I can't see anything they've done other than let injustices continue: they haven't rolled back the authoritarian database state, they haven't restored our rights, they haven't cut the waste, they haven't rolled back the racist "equality" laws, they haven't curtailed the ambulance chasing lawyers.

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'So, because the LibDems made plans that prioritised what to try to get if the electorate did not give any party a mandate, they should be castigated for that?'

It was a calculated lie Huw and a very serious betrayal. A hung parliament was considered a likely possibilty long before the election took place. It is highly unlikely that the Lib Dems would have won all those university towns and cities without their pledge on tuition fees. It was the key issue for many Lib Dem voters.

There are some good points made in this article:

'Every single Lib Dem MP signed a pre-election NUS pledge card, in April, that clearly stated: "I pledge to vote against any increase in tuition fees in the next parliament". There were no "ifs" or "buts", no caveat saying "...unless there is a hung parliament".'

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/11/tuition-fees-pledge-lib


D.G.

"If the LibDem sin is to have been willing to prioritise policies to fight for in the event of a hung parliament and negotiations for a coalition..."

No, the Lib Dem sin was publicly signing pledges to vote against tuition fees rises when they'd already made plans to support tuition fee rises in the (not unlikely) event of a hung parliament.

HuwOS

So, because the LibDems made plans that prioritised what to try to get if the electorate did not give any party a mandate, they should be castigated for that?
There was another coalition option, LidDem/Tory was one, Labour/Tory was the other.
Labour made no effort to get any of their policies in and they'd have had a stronger hand.
And yes I do know the Tories in this election would not have formed a coalition with Labour, as things stood, but would not is not the same as could not.
If the LibDem sin is to have been willing to prioritise policies to fight for in the event of a hung parliament and negotiations for a coalition, why is there no criticism of parties who abandon all their policies and leave it to others, as with New Labour.
Labour and Tories felt they could ignore the other coalition option and lay it all on the LibDems, if no agreement was reached the LibDems could have taken the blame for another election within a few months of the last one which no one wanted.
There were not the numbers, nor any rational chance for success in forming a coalition for a Labour/LibDem/PC/SNP/DUP/SDLP government.

Look there is plenty that this government is doing and going to do that will heartily make me despise each of its members, both individuals and parties (I'm most of the way there already) but for the smaller party to make plans based on the possibilities is not one of them.

D.G.

Sorry Kay Tie, I should have explained in my post that it was the fact that Clegg knew before the election that he'd be giving ground on this pledge that was making my blood boil. I will not buy for one second that he entertained the notion that he'd be forming a majority government.

This underhand behaviour shows utter contempt for both the students who voted for him and the party members who made their views crystal clear in conference. I hope they have some mechanism to expell all those who were part of this grubby scam; it's brought their entire party into disrepute.

Kay Tie

Ad, you may be right:

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/11/libdems-planned-to-ditch-tuition-pledge.html

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'Courting the student vote in the way they did, in full knowledge that this would be one of the first things to give ground on, is indefensible.'

I completely agree. These were malicious and calculated false promises. They have stabbed those in the back who they promised to help. It is outrageous that we should be treated with such contempt. Have they no conscience?

'coalition government is by definition a trade-off of policies. Parties have to prioritize what they want the most and bargain for it. It's no less democratic for that.'

Of course we expect that within reason a coalition government is going to seek compromises but they’ve no right to do this. I hope the student protesters get their way and the Lib Dems are destroyed. It just goes to show why this country is entangled in a war in Afghanistan with such liars in government. They will say and do anything if it is to their political advantage.

Kay Tie

Actually I think Huw is right: coalition government is by definition a trade-off of policies. Parties have to prioritize what they want the most and bargain for it. It's no less democratic for that.

D.G.

I can't agree with your assessment Huw. Courting the student vote in the way they did, in full knowledge that this would be one of the first things to give ground on, is indefensible.

And we (collectively) should stop blaming ourselves like over-indulgent parents for the bad behaviour of others. When we see dishonesty in our politicians, whether it's cynical voter manipulation like my example, or synthetic outrage in Kaytie's, it needs to be challenged on an individual basis. In these cases, the resposibility lies with Clegg and his team of lie-merchants and the "moron" Richard Baker.

Patrick

Society over consumes natural resources,destroy's vital habitats, pollutes , overpopulates and is fast making this planet inhospitable to life itself.

What interests Western Societies is none of the above but their bank balances,shopping,holiday's, sport,and reality TV.

No doubt we need cash induced liars to lead us and 'achieve' this mess we are in.

We also need to admit that we (collectively) put money far ahead of our future generations ability to breathe.

Anyone pointing this out is a 'morose nutter' and no politician says it as they would be out because society wants to hear happy noises.

Society votes in mirror reflections of themselves(with the odd exception), arrogant, money obsessed and selfish.

Kay Tie

And the very next thing I read proves my point:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11747509

Since when is a 19" TV "swanky"? Has the moron been to a TV shop recently? Flat panels are cheaper than cathode ray tubes which is why it's hard to buy them any more. If it's not complaining about this it would be complaining about the environmental consequences of running ancient TVs rather investing in more efficient ones.

We are morons and we are governed by morons: morocracy.

Kay Tie

It's all very well to complain about lying politicians but we (collectively) want them to: we don't want to hear the unvarnished truth and want everything given to us without consequences.

The real world is one of tradeoffs - actions have results and consequences. We clamour to "crack down" on terrorists yet complain when we are menaced by police. We urge deficit spending yet complain when the cost of holidays rise from a sinking pound. We want renewable energy yet moan that we have to pay higher bills to subsidise it.

Any politician who tells us the unpalatable consequences of our stupid demands loses any chance of being elected. It is the environment of media reporting and a culture of lazy demands that gives us the politicians we in effect choose.

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Blair and his accomplices are still the cause of many deaths in Iraq. These precious lives are every bit as important and dear as our own. Though they are of a different people and nation they share the same human nature so it cannot be made light of when we hear of such things as 600,000 Iraqi Christians having been ‘ethnically cleansed’ up until now.

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m71788&hd=&size=1&l=e

The havoc they unleashed is still going on. While the tragedy still unfolds, Blair and others reap the benefits of their actions and still insist they were right. They are in fact evil lying barbarians.

'He truly is the Blair of the LibDems.'

I think there is a lot of truth in that DG. This government has like previous ones supported eachother in how best to cheat. Undoubtedly they cheat deliberately, industriously and with a malicious design. That is what these people are good at. It is natural to them to tell crafty lies.

They do not use their skills for good as people might wish them to. In some cases it is cowardice, in others it is a natural enmity to truth. You will find them always cheating everyone and each other wherever they can catch someone out for their own advantage.

This latest example illustrates that there is a glaring lack of sincerity and honesty in our government and politicians. So be wary of them all. Whichever way a lie suits them to go, they will follow it. Anything they can invent or pick up from others they will say.

They will say ANTHING even if they know it to be false if it is to their own advantage. They will deceive their own supporters. They lie for the sake of it. They do it for fun, for practice and LAUGH about it.

They are ingenious at it. ‘They have taught their tongue to speak lies’. They have rejected truth and taught themselves to lie. They have made themselves masters of the art of lying. It has become their nature through habit. They subdue their consciousness. They see it as their job to attack their own convictions. This is what they need to do in order to bring about their malicious designs.

The terrible consequences of those lies! It is OUR responsibility to get wise. We should be wary of them. We cannot hope to do any good through them. These deceivers will always have a trick to play and shrug off their ‘convictions’. Their lying tongues are an instrument of death!

Fair words when not matched with good intentions or worse as a cover for wicked intentions are abominable.

Through the false media that supports them they are even led to believe that they are right and held in good opinion.

The course they have chosen is at this point so lucrative in its gains that to admit the truth by now is impossible because it would at the same time check their consciences.

HuwOS

Actually what strikes me is that over the last 10 years we heard a lot from Blair and Bush about how leaders have to make "hard decisions", despite not letting reality have any influence on the decisions or even experiencing any hardship in making the decisions that they always wanted to make.

One party actually has a leader prepared to actually make hard decisions and everyone hates him for doing so.
Fair play to him, I don't like him but Clegg has not done anything wrong on that front.
He's playing the cards he was dealt.

HuwOS

Hardly DG,

If the LibDems had had a majority, they could have implemented any policies they wanted.
If there was a hung parliament they had to be prepared and have a strategy about what to fight hardest for and what they might have to leave. They would have been idiots if they hadn't, it doesn't make them two faced, it makes them realists.

The people to blame for the current policies are not the LibDems, though they will have to take it anyway, but the people who apparently wanted their policies but voted for other people.

Remember there were plenty of polls before the election where people said they would vote for them, but true to form they ended up voting for someone else and are now whining about the consequences.

I do feel sorriest for LibDem voters, but they do have to remember that they did not win the election, they do not have either the largest share of the seats or the second largest, they are the minority party in coalition and there is only so much they can get.

If people want a different result, vote differently next time.

D.G.

Speaking of lying scumbags

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/12/lib-dems-tuition-fees-clegg

He truly is the Blair of the LibDems.

Kay Tie

Excellent piece by Peter Oborne on the Woolas affair:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100063444/our-parliament-is-rotten-to-the-core/

You won't read the phrase "Harriet Harman behaved impeccably" often, but it seems to be right.

rwendland

I cannot work out from the press reports if Woolas has been suspended just from the PLP, or from the Labour Party.

If he is suspendend from the Labour Party, there is an interesting comparison to the recent suspension of Lutfur Rahman (directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets). Rahman was suspended by the NEC on the basis of the allegations of an opponent that Rahman was not given time to defend himself from. Yet some MPs crazily seem to object to Woolas being suspended after a court process that he lost after being defended by QCs.

Kay Tie

Oh, it really *is* too late to stop that impression forming about Woolas:

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/defiant-labour-mps-stand-by-goebbels-201011103239/

D.G.

I'll be happy if this case means I never have to look at filthy, hateful stuff like that again. Unlike Phil Woolas and his supporters, I feel that democracy would benefit tremendously if politicians had to watch what they said a bit more closely. Maybe we'll see less juvenile rabble-rousing and more adult debate of the issues.

Shan't hold my breath, though.

Kay Tie

"It's misplaced loyalty."

I agree. Anyone who read the court reports could see that Mr. Woolas was engaging in sophistry of the worst kind to try and justify his actions.

And yes, I have seen some disgusting literature from other parties too (I can recall the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, for example).

Paul Flynn

Thanks. Inevitably someone had to leak details of the PLP meeting last night. I think the majority of the party agree with Harriet. It's misplaced loyalty.

Kay Tie

"We must not put ourselves in the situation where we appear to be defending using lies about our political opponents."

Too late:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8120131/Labour-MPs-mutiny-against-leadership-in-support-of-Phil-Woolas.html

DG

He explained that a bright new world will be created by changing the bad Labour 'targets' for good Tory 'milestones'.

I understand why it sounds ridiculous, but targets aren't the same as milestones. A target is something you're penalised for missing, whereas a milestone is a bit gentler... you acknowledge that you're not there yet, and make plans to get there, carefully measuring and evaluating the impact on the way.

That's the theory, at least. On the other hand, if you incentivise clumsily, they effectively become targets by any other name. This also means that you accidentally promote very undesirable behaviour in order to make the numbers work.

For a good example of this, have you ever noticed that if you phone a call centre and queue for a long time, you're more likely to get cut off as soon as the operator answers? This isn't Sod's Law. It's because every customer spends an extra minute or two complaining about the time taken to get through, pushing up the operators CHT (average call handling time). The consequences of exceeding the CHT targets are informal and unpleasant. The best way to bring it back down is with a couple of "accidental" slips of the finger, cutting a caller off after a few seconds. Bad for the customer; bad for the operator (it's their job on the line if they get caught doing it), but good for the line manager whose bonus is dependant on the CHT, and can claim to be appalled at the practices used to achieve it.

"Is David Cameron's plan to double exports to China a target or a milestone?"

It depends how good his planning is.

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