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.