Friday, 24 August 2012

Dodging the Iceberg

We can all see the 2015 "electoral ice berg" ahead and our very own Captain Clegg has at full steam ahead while he dines with the Tories in the Grand Dining Rooms of Westminster. 

Electoral Pundits have rightly predicted that 2015 could see the Party reduced to 10 MPs - a return to pre-1979 levels.

For us Liberal Democrats in steerage class and without prospect of a seat on a lifeboat - the band plays on!

Yet an analysis of the Titantic disaster shows that it could have missed the iceberg if it had steered away in time.
We can see the iceberg (10% in the polls - loss of 40-50 MPs) we need to steer a course away from danger whilst we need to mindful of Winston Churchill's famous maxim - when your going through Hell - keep going!

Not the time to drop the Captain but time to change course, proceedures and policy.

Liberal Democrats need to be mindful of this. An election in 2015 is certain, but the poll rating of the party in 2015 is not fixed , it may be 10% or it may be higher or lower. If domestic economic Growth can be increased, a major European Crisis averted, Mass Unemployment kept at bay and the deficit reduced in a fair way then the Coalition will have a defendable record.

Party Unity is key and team work essential. We are heading for the iceberg for sure on our present course and it would be wise to change course for safer waters. A Change of Captain? - better to have a meeting of the crew and the passengers and ask the captain to make the essential changes now.
  • Vince Cable to take a more prominent role to promote economic growth - preferably as Chancellor or if not as Deputy Prime Minister and economic supremo with Clegg as Party Leader as Business Secretary.
  • Rising Stars like Jo Swinson to enter the Cabinet (definately not pro-tories like David Laws!)
I believe that there is still common ground between radical Liberal Democrats and reforming Conservatives about the need for ending bureaucracy and government waste - which exploded under Labour. Yet so far the Conservatives have been too ready to use reforms to as a cover for ideological warfare - scapping bodies and stripping back worker rights.

Even on the questions of Lords Reform and Electoral Reform there is more consensus behind the scenes that evident. Conservatives do want to see moderate and evolutionary reform and would probably support a hybrid chamber with elected Lords and appointed Lords. Boundary Commission changes could be redone with a focus on reducing safe seats and increasing marginals and with the issue of proportionality of representation ie seats reflecting votes at the heart.

Liberal Democrats would support the creation of a new generation of entrepreneurs amongst the current lost generation of neets and older workers forced to work beyond pension age. Liberal Democrats believe in ordinary citizens owning their own property, running their own lives and not being dependent on the state or in the clutches of private landlords.

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