The annihilation of the UK's Liberal Democrats


#1

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#2

They can always merge with the disaffected right wing of the Labour Party (again).


#3

But what’s not so well known is that the Conservatives knew it all along

Hmmm. It was abundantly clear on this side of the pond.


#4

I thought that quote was widely reported at the time.

It was always going to be the case that once the LDs had their bluff called on their ‘all things to all men’ positions they were going to lose a big chunk of their vote.

But I’m not surprised that a party that had been out government for so long (if ever - are the LDs really the inheritors of the old Liberal party?) took a chance to go back into government. Maybe staying in opposition and letting the Tories govern as a minority would have been better long term, but I can see why they didn’t.


#5

I feel kind of bad for them. They are supported by large numbers of trans people, because Labour has historically been extremely crap for trans people (and overly welcoming to transphobic faux-feminists). Their supposedly core platform of civil liberties is extremely attractive to people who are non-normative and middle class. It turns out that posh eccentrics aren’t a huge voting block.

I’d rather have had another coalition than five more years of Tories, but I’m hardly going to vote for them, so…


#6

Lib Dems have historically been remarkably “flexible” in their policy positions in different parts of the country. In some areas they were more left-wing than Labour, in some areas, just as right wing, but nicer, than the Conservatives. Often even on specific policies, individual Lib Dem MPs had opposite positions, depending on either their inclination or the most attractive view to their electorate. They’ve also been a popular party of protest, pulling votes from lefties who didn’t like Iraq and pro-european Conservative, to name a few. That really wasn’t going to stand the test of government - you can’t get away with promising everyone everything when you’re actually in charge of delivering. I’ve actually got a lot of respect for Nick Clegg. His decision to go into coalition was a brave one - and I think genuinely taken in the interests of the country as a whole. It would have been easier for him to collapse coalition talks and blame the big parties - but that would have seriously undermined confidence in the UK economy, jobs etc. Sadly for him, his decision flushed out what a lot of people in politics had been saying about his party for a very long time…


#7

It was really the raising of student tuition fees that did it in for them.
They promised not to, and when it came to the crunch, instead of abstaining they voted in favour.
Despite the good things they did, including holding the Tories back on several points, it was that singular issue that lost them all the trust they’d gained initially.


#8

For reasons I don’t understand, party membership of the Liberal Democrats has increased since the general election.

Maybe the new members feel the party will move back to being a left of centre party, or they enjoy being in a party that will never be involved in the messy business of actually being in government.

As far as I can make out, today the LDP is a right of centre party that is against ID cards. It’s not much of a pitch. It makes them the third choice for right of centre voters after the Tories and UKIP. Even if they did move back to the left (as they were in Paddy Ashdown’s time), they’d be the third choice after the Labour party and the Greens.

The Greens are now the natural party of protest, so unless the Labour Party splits in two again, I can’t see the Liberal Democrats recovering any time soon.


#11

They got a voting reform referendum, and a HoL vote,I thought? Their agreement was useless, the referendum was on the wrong system (nobody really wants AV), and they should have tied that to supporting the boundary reforms (and required Tory support to boot), instead of the Lords reform.

As far as HoL reform goes, I think Cameron is trying to force that by making the whole thing as ludicrous as possible :smile: I’d take the hereditaries over this appointed shambles.

I still like the LDs on civil liberties, I don’t trust Labour or the Tories as far as I could throw either of them on it.


#12

Tony Blair had already turned Labour into another branch of the Tories, so Clegg’s coalition with them was just sweeping up.
The joke used to be that the US’s political parties were the Republicans, who are like the Tories, and the Democrats, who are also like the Tories, but really, you don’t have to do that to yourselves.

(I’m a Libertarian, so my party has less chance of winning than the LDs, and I’ll consider voting Republican after they clean up the corruption of the Bush/Rove/Cheney/Koch/Norquist years, which is to say, not any time soon. California’s solidly enough Democrat that if we don’t have a Libertarian running for an office, I’ll vote Green, or Peace&Freedom, and I’ve even voted for some Occupy folks.)


#15

For many the betrayal on student fees was a stab at the heart of the support base too far, for me the knock-on death-knell of the wonderful Open University (£4000 fees are beyond most traditional OU students) was unforgivable.


#16

Not by me. I did like Charles Kennedy but I hated Nick Clegg and the Orange Book Lib Dems pretty much as soon as they got power (clarification: when they became leaders of the party). I don’t have much of an opinion on Ming Campbell, I was too focused on recovering from transphobic abuse when he was leader. I never trusted Labour though, I’m still uncertain about Jeremy Corbyn but I prefer him to the three torys.

My current politics are on the border between anarcho-communism and electoralism though so I doubt the LIb Dems would be that concerned about losing my vote.


#17

Fuck them. They were instrumental in bringing Cameron et al to power, and they deserve far worse than slipping into anonymity and irrelevance for that.


#18

I registered to vote for Corbyn if for no other reason than to thwart Liz Kendall. I’ll join as a full party member if he gets in, just in case I get to participate in purges.


#19

Well, indeed, but a lot of trans leaders, like Sarah Brown are lib dems. She is the person who coined the term spousal-veto and worked very hard to get rid of it (although sadly not successful yet). In her term in office in Cambridge, she made sure her ward’s new pool had some gender-neutral changing facilities. I find her very steadfast loyalty to the party to be somewhat perplexing, but she is certainly extremely principled. I was disappointed when she lost her seat.

What I’ve learned since moving to the UK is that one has to tread very carefully with party politics and trans organising.


#20

After the 2010 election, when the coalition talks were ongoing, the top trending tag on twitter was #dontdoitnick. People saw what was coming, and their support evaporated almost immediately.

I remember saying it at the time:
“The penalty for treachery is oblivion”

And I can’t help thinking that something similar is going to happen to Labour as well, whenever they activate their very British coup against Corbyn, possibly even before he is elected.


#21

I can’t see that Clegg could have propped up Brown instead though (and they’d have had to cobble together some other parties too). That Labour government had been a shambles for 9 years and needed to go. I’ll give Blair credit for his first term, but they were an authoritarian disaster area after that and Brown was dreadful.

How would sitting on the fence have gone? What would 5 years of minority Tory administration have looked like? It’s not impossible there’d have been another election leading to a Tory majority back in 2012 or so.

I just wish Clegg had told them to get stuffed on tuition fees. That was just such a boneheaded thing to throw the party away on.


#22

Aye, depressingly, there wasn’t a good solution in that election, bar ‘kill them all, and try something new’, but hey.


#23

As tempting as the “kill them all” way is, we have to consider that the incumbent are protecting their seats from something even worse than them.


#24

Doesn’t matter. It’s purges all the way down!