Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank you, Charles Kennedy

Support for the coalition wasn't "unanimous", like Clegg said.

The former Lib Dem leader and current MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber explained in today's Observer ("Why I couldn't support Clegg's deal with the Tories") why he "felt personally unable to vote for [a coalition with the Conservatives] when it was presented to Liberal Democrat parliamentarians", describing the alliance as a blow to "the long-nurtured 'realignment of the centre-left'".

Kennedy's remarks are the most high profile display of dissent within the Lib Dems since the coalition took shape five days ago. It adds to criticism received from Southport MP John Pugh and disquiet amongst grassroots activists, all of which is at odds with Nick Clegg's remarks that his party's backing of the coalition is "unanimous".

Kennedy also remarked how the option of letting the Tories form a minority government on a "confidence and supply" basis was dismissed too quickly and warned of the risks of "assimilation within the Conservative fold" as history may repeat itself. Cameron, wrote Kennedy, is "happy to describe himself as a 'liberal Conservative'. And we know he dislikes the term Tory. These ongoing efforts at appropriation are going to have to be watched".

Good to know not everybody has been lobotomised just yet.


Anonymous said...

This has made my day. I love Kennedy. Such a shame he wasn't the leader:( then maybe none of this rubbish may have happened.

claude said...

Me too, Jane.

I was genuinely pissed off when he got ousted.

It's people like him, or (more importantly, as it's at grass-roots leve) yourself actually, which give me a tiny bit of hope.

The amount of delusional stuff (ie "wow we have Lynn Featherstone as Junior Minister, amazing!!!!" with the blinkers firmly on at the fact that uberhomophobe Theresa May is the Home Secretary, the one calling the shots) I've been reading on pro-LibDem blogs since Tuesday is disturbing.

Let's see what happens.

Stan Moss said...

Mark my words. A split within the Lib Dems will occur within a year tops. If this is what we hear a mere few days after the coalition, imagine when the first few votes in the Commons are debated.

BTW, here's an opinion poll from today. A quarter of Liberal voters on May 6 said they would not give them their vote now.

Jane Watkinson said...

I totally agree.

I find it quite disturbing too how much the LibDems seem to have been blinded by power. I would have been happy if Lynne Featherstone had been appointed Women and Equality minister for example, but she has just got another token post for women.

I really agree with Stan, there will be a split, and I think it is already happening if we are honest.

Good old Kennedy, lets hope he continues to speak out.

Anita said...

I disagree with all of you.

I see too much negativity over Nick Clegg and the LibDems. Give them a chance. They managed to get a lot of concessions and if the referendum on AV is won (which is likely), they will be given immense credit for a generation.

If it was for Labour's approach on electoral reform we wouldn't even have a glimmer of hope.

In spite of what this website is arguing, there is only a tiny minority of disgruntled LibDem activists. Today's special conference in Birmingham confirmed Nick Clegg's got everybody's backing.

Ben E said...

I agree with Anita. I really believe that if we had gone to another election then we would have ended up with either another hung parliament or an unchecked Tory majority. There is no way that all the SITCOMs would risk voting Labour again - we're just worried about how we're going to keep our families housed, clothed, and fed with decreasing income and higher cost of living. James Carville was right. We don't have the luxury of wining about betrayal of principles while the banks won't fund new business and fuel rises to 120p a litre.

Quite frankly I think what Nick Clegg did took a lot of balls. I would have liked a Lib Dem majority government but we have the next best thing. The Labour party's arrogance and intransigence in their negotiations with the Lib Dems suggests that a minority government would have just been a year of political and economic intertia. Take it from someone who isn't in the same job as 2 years ago on the same money: we can't afford that right now.