Friday 27 July 2012

Dear Lib Dems - This is Not a Joke

Yesterday, I wrote a post saying that this Government were incompetent and incapable and that we must have a vote of no confidence immediately.

Lots of commenters agreed entirely, but asked how we, the public, can force this to happen.

When the coalition formed in May 2010, during the five days that it took to form the government, something convinced the Liberal Democrats that we were in a desperate financial situation way beyond anything us mere mortals were being told. They performed a 180 degree u-turn on their economic policy and made the extraordinary decision to go for a full coalition, not a supply and demand arrangement.

Even more extraordinarily, they handed economic policy entirely to the Conservatives and agreed to support their austerity programme totally and without question.

What does this mean? Well, all around the world, coalitions tend to work on what is called "Supply and Demand" Certain policies are agreed in advance where possible, but all other decisions are dependent on free votes in parliament. This protects the integrity of each party and allows a degree of independence to be maintained throughout the coalition.

These shadowy men who frightened the very life out of the Liberal Democrats, inexperienced at holding power, convinced them that this kind of arrangement wouldn't work. They argued that our economic situation was so precarious, so dangerously unstable that any hint that the new coalition could not provide "strong and stable government" (Remember how often they used the phrase?) would lead to the bond markets taking fright and our whole financial house of cards would collapse.

Who were these shadowy men? I cannot know, but I feel very strongly that Mervyn King from the Bank of England, the IMF and possibly Gus O'Donnell, the then Chief Civil Servant, supposed to be entirely neutral, played strong hands to ensure that there would be a Conservative led coalition supported by the Lib Dems. Without the Conservative austerity programme, they all believed we would face financial Armageddon.

And so, we ended up with a Liberal Democrat party, desperate to prove that coalition can work, tied into a full coalition in which financial decisions would be taken by the senior Conservative partner.

Now, fast forward two years and we are faced with an entirely discredited economic agenda. Austerity has failed spectacularly, just as most knew it would and the Lib Dems have been decimated by the policies that followed from that fateful decision. The treasury controlled student fees, the treasury controlled welfare reform, the treasury controlled police budgets and NHS reform and public sector pay. The treasury went on to control everything. George Osborne tied ministerial hands across every department and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it.

Now, in 2012, those same shadowy men are calling for a change of direction. They are calling for large economic and fiscal stimulus. They are calling for infrastructure spending and tax cuts. They are, effectively calling for a "Plan B" or to put it bluntly, they are now calling for exactly the kind of economic policies that both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party called for before the election. They are urging Osborne to slow down, urging him to ease back on austerity, urging for him to stimulate the economy.

Yet Liberal Democrats, destroyed in the public mind, discredited as politicians and decimated in the opinion polls cling to this failing coalition like drowning men cling to a lifeboat.

There is a clumsy, one line explanation that we hear time and time again for this : Lib Dems, seduced by ministerial limos and a whiff of power are so selfish they will not put the public good ahead of their own ambition.

I believe this is utter nonsense.

It is simply not credible that every Lib Dem MP would accept this argument. Whatever we think of politicians, on the whole, they believe that they act in the public interest. It would be impossible to hold together a coalition failing so spectacularly, based solely on selfish self interest. Sure, a few would be perfectly happy, but many would not.

So there is something else. And that "something else" can only be a belief that if they flee the sinking ship, the outcome would be more serious than their own precarious situation. They must still believe that financial Armageddon would follow.

Think for a moment : The Lib Dems announce today that they gave it 110% but that their coalition partners, the Conservatives, were simply too intransigent, too arrogant and too incompetent to govern. They can no longer stand by and watch the wholesale sell-off of our NHS, the futures of young people, destroyed by failed austerity or sick and disabled people crying out for help. Despite putting the prospects of their own party to one side and sacrificing popularity for the greater good, it is now simply unsustainable.

They would be heroes. Opinion polls and current opinion would suggest that their fortunes would turn in an instant. The lapdog turned crusader. The stooges who said "So much and no more". Their popularity would almost certainly surge.

Even if this were not the case, the public interest would be served and come what may, the Lib Dems would no longer be tied into an agreement formed in haste and based on discredited advice. Anyone who knows anything about the Lib Dems as a party would conclude that they would take that route.

The only way this coalition can fall is if the Lib Dems walk away from the coalition. So why aren't they? 

I can only think of 3 possible reasons :

1) They still believe the shadowy men and are terrified that breaking up the coalition will lead to chaos and disaster.

2) Self interest - I've already explained why I do not think this is the sole reason

but there is a third reason :

3) That the Lib Dems hate Labour so much, have become so tied up in partisan point scoring that they believe a Labour government or a Lab - Lib coalition would be even more disastrous than what we have now.

Perhaps they are right, no-one can know, but basing the decision on partisan preference is as reprehensible as basing it on naked self interest. The question of what follows this failed administration is less important than making sure it fails. 

Even I, as a lifelong Labour member, am not convinced that Labour are yet ready to govern again. However, I am convinced that this Conservative led government is dangerous and damaging beyond anything we have ever seen from any political party before. They must go and what comes next is up to all of us.

So, Lib Dems, This is Not a Joke. This has gone too far. This is a moment in history that only you can decide, only you can grasp. You must break up this coalition now and you must explain that you are doing it in the public interest. You must reject the shadowy men, so discredited and exposed. You must look to your values and the reasons you went into politics in the first place. It was not to destroy lives, crush futures and destroy the fabric of our society for a generation. 

You must take a deep breath and step outside of the here and now. Think of the great men and women who acted when action was so desperately needed. Who put aside their own small ambitions to do what was right.

And you must act. You must act for all of us, because you hold the future of Britain in your hands

In your own mission statement you state that you want to "Create a society in which no one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity.”

This coalition is enslaving millions and it is only you who can stop it. Now.

We, the public, can only put as much pressure on the Liberal Democrats as we can to make sure that it does.


  1. This is a sobering yet incisive analysis, Sue. This helps me to understand what's going on. I'll share it widely.

  2. Sue,I've been saying this kind of thing for months, that the Glibdems would gain far more by walking away than staying.Also, although I know they hated Gordon Brown, and certainly our Tony,and one or two of the front bench, I don't think they actually hated the Labour Party itself,or, infact,do.But, I agree,that there is a lot of needless partisan bitching in there somewhere, poisoned further by contact with the Tories.However, I doubt there will be an official announcement of any seachange till after this overblown sports day is over.

  3. I think you are spot on with this sue and really i think the lib dems are scared.Scared to admit they backed the wrong horse and now they have to keep doubling up the bet to try and win back what they lost.Well that may well work if you have unlimited funds but thier credibility fund ran out long ago.
    They may have of course been put in to this pact by Cleggs hatred of Brown but whatever Brownian motion they didnt like it would have been far better than the motions they now have to endure and i dont think i have to force that analogy any further.They are well and truly in a pit of thier own making.The real trouble is they have pulled us in with them and we can never trust them again.
    The men in the shadows with thier shadow play know exactly what they are doing and when people like them call for a Plan B then trouble is certainly acoming.
    13 trillion salted away out of the worlds economy over the past how many years by the corporate and banking mafia or the so called 0.0001% (or whatever the figure) is the real crime here and how many govts around the world colluded with these people is unknown but what is certain that London and by that i mean the people that run it as the financial capital of this global ponzi scheme are certainly if the not the main architects of this then they sure as hell are greatly involved.It has been no secret among them that the Libor was fixed ,it is no secret among them that the rigged the silver markets and other metals and other markets and it is certainly no secret among them that sooner or later it would all come out so what we have had over the past few years is the biggest looting of the worlds economys there has ever been.
    It is on such a vast scale as to be unbelievable and to most it is and it before any other reason is why we are in this mess.It is planned by them and for them.But you say the mythical THEM and straight away you are a conspiricy nut job....but oh look its bloody true says the media 13 trillion .
    Yeah now we know why we are in this mess and now we know why they are calling for Plan B...cos they cant now take anymore out before at least putting some back in and creating the stimulus for the economys to get moving again so they can get back to what they do best...robbing us all.
    LIB dems oh yeah forgot about them well they are the best thing that ever happened to the Torys cos now they have someone to blame...its thier fault as they didnt fully support OUR fiscal policys...well they aint scapegoats at all THEY knew full well what they were doing so they really are as much to blame here as the Torys because they stand by and watch them grab what they can.....So yeah maybe a pact with Brown would have been a bitter pact but better than playing pitchfork holder to the bloody devil eh...

  4. Sue I totaly agree with you, my MP is a Lib Dem and he is good has even offerd to come to my atos medical with me.

  5. Sue, as always you argue eloquently. I will most certainly re-post this in the hope that it may have some effect. I retain connections with some whom I hope are good men and women within the Liberal Democrat party and at every single opportunity seek to bring them to their senses in regard to the dreadful damage they are doing by continuing to support this criminal administration. It's very hard for me to abate just for one second my absolute loathing of Clegg and his cronies - but the country should be first and foremost and if the pressure can do some good then all the better.

  6. We are all f****d!!! The 365billion pounds wealth created in the last thirty years has gone to the top 10%, whilst the 90% have lost the exact same amount(factually researched and proven). The graduates of this country can only just about obtain a temporary call centre job(if they're lucky) on minimum wage and there are 5 million people on our housing waiting lists as we have a dysfunctional housing market, and crisis with people paying ludicrous rents because Mrs Thatcher took away rent controls in the private sector which caused this problem and is completely unregulated.

    Our education system has been dumbed down to increase pass rates which now means nobody stands out, and the future economy with 10% manufacturing will create lots of very low wage skill jobs for some excluding them from participating in society from marriage, children etc, and executive highly paid postions for others at the top but nothing for the ordinary citizens.

    Our transport infrastructure is ancient and dilapidated frequently breaks down and is the most expensive in Europe whilst the government expects the population to pay extortionate fares whilst trying to force the 2.58 million unemployed into £6.08 employment which in virtually most of Britain doesn't cover the food bill.

    The sick and disabled are being persecuted similarly to that before the second world war, and much of the oppressed of the UK just shrug their shoulders(particularly the young) and say "oh well" and have as much fight as a glove puppet.

  7. If the LibDems,hang on in there,in the hope that things will get better,they won't.
    If the LibDems stay the course,through to 2015 with the Tories.They will both be hated in equal measure.
    If the LibDems,leave this coalition,they will have the beginnings of people thinking,they have at last,done the right thing.But if they leave it much later,that option will be gone.
    Even a lot of Tories hate the LibDems,just read the Tory Blogs.
    When the Tories start realising that they are going to lose the next election,Cameron will be toast.The Tories do not think twice about dumping leaders.Something the LibDems should learn.Clegg is hated by all sides equally.

  8. It's "Self Interest" but not of the simple kind we like to pretend it is.

    While I'm sure there are some LDs who have had a 'Road to Downing Street' conversion, and who love the power of actually being in government more then the things they believed in when they went into politics, there can't be enough of those to control or influence the ENTIRE party.

    No, the Self Interest comes in when the LibDems think about what will happen at the next election.

    They are either reviled or pitied. They certainly aren't respected by any large segment of the public.

    If a voter likes the direction the coalition has taken (god help us), he will vote Tory.
    If a voter wishes for a change in direction, he will vote Labour.

    In no case is any voter other than a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal Democrat likely to vote Liberal Democrat - and how many of those are left? How many of those feel betrayed and abandoned by their own party?

    The LibDems stick with the coalition because they have no political future at all without it (especially the senior LDs).

    I think there could have been a time when the LibDems could have opposed the Tories in coalition - voted against some of the damaging bills we have been subject to, or even walked away from the coalition entirely - and had this result in the scenario you describe up above, with the Liberal Democrats being celebrated as heroes and saviours.

    But if they did it now? After all the things they've voted for?

    I don't think it would change public opinion one jot - they're seen, by and large, as opportunistic parasites. If they abandon the coalition now, after all the harm they've done - will public opinion sway? Or will they be seen as rats leaving a sinking ship?

    More importantly - what do THEY believe public opinion will hold?

    It's not that they particularly want to be in the coalition or that many LibDem MPs really believe they hold any power - but I think most believe they will have no power whatsoever once it dissolves, because they believe it will be a cold day in hell before any of us vote Liberal Democrat ever again.

    They're probably right.

  9. do something about it then!

  10. Can I just point out to everyone that austerity is a scam? There's no need for it at all. More here from convincing people The Condems are like voodoo practitioners, shaking their big ju-ju sticks and stamping their feet saying we have to make sacrifices to appease the market gods or else the sky will fall! It's a scam, it's just theatrics :-) There isn't any need for austerity and there is no economic crisis. There is no justification at all in any way shape or form for any cuts.

    1. yep Max Kieser has been saying this for ages now and everything he predicted about the banking mafia nd thier ponzi scheme and thier hold on govts and its effects on us has been prven right.WE dont need austerity we just need the trillions these robbers have taken and salted away put back in.If you dont let water in to the reservior you cant take it out and we all end up thirsty.....

  11. you are so right in what you say the conservatives are very dangerous but unfortunately most voters in this country do not see it like this and the media i beleive are a party to this as well

  12. "supply and demand"


    'confidence and supply' seems more likely

  13. Sue please read what this Government are doing to a disabled family.

  14. Sorry, but as far as I am concerned, the sooner these turn-coats are consigned to the depths of history the better. I do not want to give them a chance to redeem themselves, because I do not trust that they won't betray this country a second time round.

    Maybe you do not believe the 'self-serving' reason, but I do. These are politicians we are talking about and self-serving is a byline of their raison d'etre.

    I think that leftie leaning LDs will vote Labour en masse next time, as they would have done in 2010 if they had had an inkling they were about to get betrayed in the most cynical manner by their leaders. I do not believe anyone will trust the LDs with as much as a paperclip, ever. And they know it. So instead of doing at last something honourable and pull the plug on this shambles that is the coalition, they will cling on to the few remaining shreds of (very relative) power by the bloody tips of their fingernails, knowing that this is the last they will ever come within sniffing distance of any kind of influence.

    The sooner the better too.


  16. Sue, this is very important stuff but surely our immediate concern is to bombard the media, social media, allies, etc with info and experiences on the ESA and the Atos medical test following the two TV programmes tonight: the undercover ATOS doctor on on Dispatches at 8pm Ch4 will be dynamite, for so long the DWP/grayling have argued there are no targets, this programme destroys that position, the BBC 2 Panorama one at 8.30pm, with the awful title, 'Disabled or faking it?' I will reserve judgement on...

  17. the lib dummies will do or say almost anything for power. the political egos know no bounds. they were voted in on a pack of lies and have changed almost everything in their manifesto. the closer the blood lines the more likely the offspring are going to be bourn inadequate for life .the same is true for nepotism when applied to intelligent thought and new ideas this situation suits the ruling class, it keeps the majority in their place through fear profit and dividends for them. when people realise that when you keep people living on the street or in poverty ,it gives them their privileged lives you may start to understand politics.a lack of anything makes that resource more expensive, so selling off council houses (thatcher) and then not building any more had the desired affect of pushing house prices up giving landlords guaranteed income payed for by the tax payer through the housing benefit system they are the real benefit scroungers. while their property portfolios increase by millions of pounds, you do not have to wonder why they will not build enough for people who can afford for people to live in .the asset stripping cons are doing what they do best asset stripping and keeping the majority of people poor they see the disabled as worthless and a burden on society, the same ideology as the nazi party and the dummies are wolves in sheeps clothing .so why the surprise? they want you to be indoctrinated by their mantras (do discus politics nothing can be changed, they are all the same, so their is no point engaging in politics ) as long as enough believe that they are safe in their ruling privilege 1%, please remember the cons dont need you to vote for any one els, as their support allways has and always will vote that is how the minority rule .the cons have not won a working majority since 1922 they no that their time is up that is why they have brought the majority to their knees with the help of their friends the bankers, arranging for a financial meltdown to happen when labour was in government so the majority can be convinced through media it was labours fault. the disabled are being discriminated against in the media and the majority are being played had ,manipulated, shafted, call it what you will .when you see people like borris johnson being portrayed as a bugling fool in the media who can not be held responsible for his actions he helps to steal the filling from childrens rotting teeth, as this condom party dismantle the nhs steve.

  18. 'Media coverage about Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments.

    Two television programmes will be shown today (30 July) about Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Work Capability Assessments (WCA). The programmes are Panorama at 8.30pm on BBC Two, and Dispatches at 8pm on Channel 4.
    It is expected that the programmes will cover:

    Whether ESA and WCA assessments are suitable for claimants
    Issues in the WCA process, its implementation costs, the appeals system against benefit decisions and the overall impact on vulnerable people
    The robustness of the decision-making process and challenges about performance of Atos and healthcare professionals.

    Dispatches is expected to include undercover footage of the Atos training process and allegations that targets are set for numbers of claimants being assessed as incapable of work.
    DWP has not been given access to the film or a transcript, so has not been able to verify the allegations being made or establish whether they have been taken out of context. Complaints about this have been registered with the producers and Channel 4.
    DWP’s Press Office has been leading on forming a strong rebuttal to the allegations. This includes strongly making clear that there are no targets involved for numbers of claimants being assessed as being incapable of work.
    A statement has been provided to Dispatches expressing our concerns, while Employment Minister Chris Grayling has recorded an interview for Panorama.
    Chris Grayling said: “Reforming incapacity benefits is all about saving lives by preventing people from being written off to a life on benefits.
    “There is strong evidence that work is good for you. Through the Work Programme we are giving people more support than ever before to help them find a job, while giving unconditional financial support to those who are not well enough to work.

    "We know that it is a difficult process, and we won't get every decision right, but we have worked incredibly hard to continuously improve the process and will continue to do so. It is extremely disappointing that these programmes do not seem willing to offer a balanced view.”

    from the DWP's internal intranet...

    Sue, could we have a post on the Atos programmes?, this is crucial, the above is the DWP's initial response including a moan that 'the programmes are not balanced'', er, they haven't been since the reforms began, this will be a first..

  19. [QUOTE]Chris grayling
    "We know that it is a difficult process, and we won't get every decision right, but we have worked incredibly hard to continuously improve the process and will continue to do so. It is extremely disappointing that these programmes do not seem willing to offer a balanced view.[/QUOTE]

    Getting it wrong with lives lost that is why you need to make more of an effort what safeguards had you built in when this policy was being approved ?
    none my mp tells me none whatsoever as long as the death count was low you could get away with it but your wrong Mr grayling the death count is high and you will need to explain this to court at some point

    To have had any type of legal policy which was welfare reform and was or could be detrimental to another persons life is manslaughter pure and simple as any senior police officer will tell you

  20. Where are the Lib Dems or Labour speaking out against the concerted attack on disabiliy benefits in todyas papers?
    This is absolutely shocking and disturbing that no one will contradict this evil man. Surely MPs can be sacked for lying?We know they are issuing false reports because of the TV programmes tonight but where are the MPs/reporters to show this up for what it is.

    We can expect more attacks on the disabled as a result of this.

    This has to be taken to court. Take some of these comments and change the word sick, disabled for black, gay - there would be an outcry and lawsuits flying.

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  22. As a Lib Dem, I favour stability and managed change putting the people first. Creating a society in which no one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity. While my first preference is for a Liberal Democrats majority government, my second preference is a grand coalition of national unity.

    Next time I fear both an unfettered majority government of either the Conservatives or Labour next time as continuing the pattern of force feeding idealogical illiberal legislation. Continuing the cycle of lurching the country first to the left and then next time to the right. I suspect most people would prefer a focus on balanced fairness rather than the destructive clash that these two forces continue to exert.

    These parties seem more capable of instilling fear and hate of their opposing force, than anything positive. With fallout that creates collateral damage, which is paid for by it's effect on real peoples lives.

    My experience of working with both parties is that they favour tribalism to competence. I personally find Labour and Conservatives equally unbalancing in opposing directions and therefore equally unappealing. I find supply and confidence a much less stable position than full coalition, if a suitable agreement can be made then a full coalition is preferable.

    That said with the Conservatives voting down Lords Reform seems to me to be indicative of a breach of the coalition agreement. Speaking in a personal capacity, I am tending towards support for a change away from coalition towards supply and confidence.

    For too long the vested special interests like large trade unions or hedge funds that bankroll the other two parties have held sway to the detriment of the people. Having been a CAB manager and before that working in Legal Aid in Welfare Benefits under the previous government, I have no illusions into the reality of Labour and it's spin when it comes to social policy. Your analysis of Liberal Democrats position in the formation of government while popularised by Labour who have more spin doctors than when they were in government is not the narrative I am aware of, may I suggest more research? If you are genuinely interested in dialogue with Lib Dems, I suggest studying the website "Lib Dem Voice" and reading through articles and comments to see what is thought.

    My experience of politics puts me in the pragmatic position where I question not what is best, but which is least worst. In summary what will minimises disutility for the people. My position changes as the evidence changes and my judgement remains reserved.

  23. There's a fourth possibility. The Lib Dem leadership are mostly economic liberals, support what the Conservatives are doing and think things will click into place.