Saturday, 5 May 2012
The ides of May - what next for the Coalition?
The verdict of the public is in. Both Coalition parties are trounced in the polls, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats lose 300+ seats. Labour is the winner but the public is sceptical and turnout is low. What is clear is that the Liberal Democrats are not going to make it to 2015 intact if things continue as they are. The Party will revolt, the public will not forgive or forget. Just like the Major government in 93, the public held a grudge for 4 years when they took their rightful democratic revenge. What to do, clearly as has been said in previous blogs - it was right to go into coalition in 2010 to save the country from a Greek style meltdown. Stability has been achieved but Plan Austerity (Plan A) has failed to sustain enough growth to enable the deficit plan. A Plan C (for Cable) is needed to see more growth achieved by intelligent supply side reforms (I don't mean lessening employment protection which has depressed job security and domestic demand) but by creating a million dole entrepreneurs and confidence building measures. Bank reform should ensure that we fast track to profitability for State Owned Banks but force lending and don't just force banks to pad their balance sheets. What should the Lib Dems do ? - Just staying put won't work, the public demand a stonger liberal voice, yes simple "muscular liberalism" is only window dressing presentation rather than substance. Sacking Nick Clegg on it's own wouldn't be enough, and would be unnecessary. 2 options remain - to stay in the Cabinet or for Lib Dems to leave the Government. The smart thing to do is signal to the public that the Lib Dems are in the driving seat, by replacing George Osborne at the Treasury with Vince Cable and putting a more creative Plan C style growth programme forward. If Cameron can't wear this , then the alternative is for the Lib Dems to leave the government and cross the floor back into opposition. This act will put clear water between us and the tories but we keep our word in the 2010 coalition agreement and vote with the government on any item covered under the coalition agreement while voting them down or negotating with them over anything else. Thus we turn cameron's tories into a lame duck government (or duck pond) while holding the moral high ground against them and Labour. We advocate a plan c growth plan and build a new coalition in the country around this while demanding a redress of grievances such as abolition of student tuition fees (our massive mistake of 2010). We need to torpedo "poll tax " suicide policies like NHS reform and Caravan tax. Time to rebuild the party, also the opposition money would create some fighting funds for 2015.