Friday, 16 November 2012

Things could be better, things could be much worse

Tory policies (NHS reform, education reforms, police chiefs) and politicians  (Mitchell, Nadine et al) continue to implode nicely and Lib Dem arguments in favour of taking a harder line against press barons, tax dodgers and Bankers are winning through. Our dogs may bark but beware the sneaky tory caravan rolls on towards 2015. The Conservatives are increasingly shedding their Cameron skins and breaking cover as Thatcher's Children. What is clear is that they will from a policy point of view fighting it out with UKIP for the Right Wing vote leaving the Lib Dems and Labour contesting the Centre Ground and Left of Centre Vote. Had the Lib Dems not entered into the coalition with the Tories this ought to be very good news for the party but we are sadly toxically damaged by being willing accomplices .

As the political game stands at the moment - the only certain thing about 2015 is that the Lib Dems have a high risk of electoral meltdown. So the cards are stacked against us. We keep playing the game, in the hope of events coming to our rescue, but it is increasingly clear that the Conservatives strategy of winning 2015 is based upon the annihilation of the Lib Dems (just like 1924) according to George Osborne's cunning plan, amongst many.

 What to do ? - one option (described as the nuclear option) is to simply formally leave the coalition on a matter of moral issue (and there are plenty of them) and leave the Labour Party to take over government on a supply and confidence basis. We have a fixed term parliament so there is a legal requirement for the government to function until 2015 and we can threaten to conclude an electoral "pro-growth" pact with Labour (and possibly other parties) to deter a conservative vote of confidence in parliament. This would allow the Lib Dems to distance our party from the Conservatives, allow the Conservatives to morph into UKIP (Mk2) unfettered and give some better prospect of survival. If we allow the party to be smashed in the 2015 polls, it will split into 2 tiny groups - a Liberal Orange Book Party to be absorbed by the Conservatives, and a Social Liberal Party to be swallowed by Labour.

We can clearly go on for another year or two making mischief of Tory policies from within the coalition but as Tory policies fail they will surely blame us, or tear themselves apart. Either way it will be messy and Labour can take the moral high ground.
We could play the straight bat, trudge on it the national interest, take the blows from all sides and do our best - but without a credible economic plan and a triple dip possible/likely this seem like the actions of stoic lemmings (look at the Liberal Party during the First World War) .
Wait and See until Spring?  - the procrastinators option of muddling on is tempting, hopefully a good retail Christmas, a drop in fuel and gas prices, further growth in the enterprise economy to offset public sector cuts - some of this will happen but european and international forces will drag growth down in 2013 unless we see some dramatic action from Obama and Europe to kick start things (unlikely).
So after all - we will keep plodding on then in the national interest, keeping the government in power like a loyal wife being cheated on and knowing that a successor is being groomed (UKIP) to take our place as post 2015 coalition partner, and we will fall on our swords in 2015. Still the idea of tipping up the game board does excite.

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