Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Coming Split in the Liberal Democrats

As the 3,000 Liberal Democrats gather in Sheffield surrounded by a wall of steel to protect against the protests of 10,000 - a prediction

All the Liberal Democrats (excepting Nick Clegg) would have preferred to have entered into an anti-tory coalition last may. But enticed with the firm promise on a referendum on a watered down form of PR, they did the deal with the Conservatives and held their noses. Of course saving the country from impending greek/irish/Icelandic economic meltdown was important but PR was the decider.

It looks improbable that that voters will endorse such a change at a time of economic uncertainty. Post Referendum failure,the Liberal Democrats will soon split between old style pre-clegg Liberal Democrats who gravitate towards deeply felt issues and opposition politics and the new style cleggites who are desperate for power and think David Cameron is a bit left wing. The core old school Lib Dems want us out of Afghanistan, and wish there was a better way on the war on terror. They like the NHS and want to give the students back their grants. They hate nuclear power and nuclear weapons . The cleggites on the other hand, want the opposite. They want to win the war on terror , stay in the killing fields of Helmand . They want radical change in the NHS, and while embarrassed about the Student fees, don’t have a fundamental problem with US style higher education funding. They love nuclear, power and weapons. In short they’re tories.

So ironically it seems by breaking into government in 2010, in 2011 the mould of British politics will finally be broken back into a 2 party system again with say 30 of the left wing Lib Dems joining Labour, 20 of the the cleggites – staying in the Conservative Coalition, and a tiny rump of 8 wee-frees as the unimportant remnant.

History repeats itself – this is precisely the outcome of the 1915 Coalition with the Conservatives and the 1931 National Government Coalition. For Samuelites read – Kennedyites, for Simonites read Clegg.

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