Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Liberal Democrats - The Biggest Political Losers of the Year!

At one point in recent political history whether you agreed with them or not you could safely assume that the Liberal Democrats were ardent pro-Europeans, pro free education, pro-immigration and strong supporters of Human Rights, this used to be the ethos of what the Liberal Democrat party was actually built on.

The failure of the Lib Dems to capitalise on their sudden "popularity" at the 2010 general election and the resulting shock at actually losing of 5 seats instead of gaining some would normally have prompted the resignation of their leader (Nick Clegg) and had it not been that the Conservatives were looking for MPs to give them a majority government in parliament, one suspects that this would have been the course of events, so it could be said that David Cameron and George Osborne actually saved Nick Clegg's job and prolonged political career!

The Liberal Democrats have always been the chameleon of British politics often being 100% for something in one constituency, while representing the exact polar opposite in another in order to capitalise on as many votes as possible and by and large they always seemed to have got away with this anomaly, probably because not that many people took them seriously. Over the years the Lib Dems became quite adept at harnessing the "protest vote" from both the Labour and the Conservative parties, however, something went very badly wrong in the 2010 general election and after the poll  one may have expected the Liberal Democrats to hold an urgent "post mortem" on what went wrong but astonishingly they failed to address the serious loss of a sizeable chunk of their core vote! Now bizarrely, in some of their constituencies they still believe they can protest against the government  and government cuts that they themselves are part of.  The Liberal Democrats seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that if it were not for the support of the Liberal Democrat ministers and junior ministers in the Conservative government and cabinet, then Cameron and Osborne would not be able to implement its right wing ideological policies, the very policies which are having such a disastrous effect on peoples lives and the lives of their families. So we have the incredulous disingenuous situation where some Liberal Democrat (and Conservative) cabinet members and government members are on one hand enabling the government to make these cuts by actually voting with the government and then these very same ministers are returning to their constituents and joining protests against the cuts that they themselves have voted for! It is so bizarre that you couldn't make it up! However not only is it bizarre, it is also deceitful and these ministers are guilty of deliberately misleading and manipulating their constituents into believing one thing while practising the exact opposite. No wonder the public are losing faith in the British political system!

The Liberal Democrats are not just in denial, they all appear to be suffering from collective delusions, illusions of grandeur and "selective amnesia". Why would anyone trust them with their vote ever again?

We the voters are entitled to ask the Liberal Democrats whose side they are actually on?

On the side of students? - Once upon a time the Lib Dems had managed to win over the majority of the student vote, but that has fallen by the wayside as Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, David Laws, Chris Huhne and virtually all 57 Liberal Democrats reneged on their promise to university students where they pledged to "scrap tuition fees" and voted instead with the Tory government to treble tuition fees.  After making a great deal of noise in public proclaiming that many of them were not going to vote with the government, vote with the government is exactly what they did. A couple abstained which means they may just as well voted with the government - vote abstention is just a cowardly cop-out.

On the side of our children's education? No, the Liberal Democrats have given their full backing to Tory Education Secretary, Michael Gove and now "Pupils are being denied careers advice at a time of record youth unemployment, schools are scrapping projects to help the neediest children catch up on their reading, and teachers of music, art and sport are losing their jobs, a Guardian investigation into the impact of cuts on education reveals.
The education secretary, Michael Gove, claimed last year that the government was "protecting the frontline", and the coalition says schools and colleges will manage to save £1bn between now and 2014 just by trimming back-office functions.
However, research by the Guardian indicates that shrinking budgets are already significantly reducing the range and quality of education on offer to all pupils across England, from toddlers to teenagers. Even schools in deprived neighbourhoods are having to make swingeing cuts, despite receiving the pupil premium, which this year has equated to an extra £488 for each child who receives free school meals." The Liberal Democrats made much of the "pupil premium" but it is not new money and has amounted to nothing. 
On the side of the NHS? - Once again the Liberal Democrats made a big noise about how they were not going to help the government get their Health and Social Care Reforms bill through parliament, they were going to discuss this at their party conference and vote on it, but they never did, they cowardly copped out and when it came right down to the wire in parliament the Liberal Democrats actually voted with the Conservative government to destroy, break-up and privatise our NHS, instead of voting with the labour opposition to try and help save the NHS. Further, the Liberal Democrat Peers in the Lords including Baroness Shirley Williams had a chance to vote against the bill and made much noise about doing so, but then voted with the government, leaving the Labour peers and some cross party peers alone to try and oppose and block the bill's passage, because of David Cameron's planted cronies in the Lords, the Labour peers and cross party peers were outnumbered and they failed to block the bill's passage. Just one single Lib Dem peer voted with the Labour peers in order to try and save the NHS from certain Tory destruction.

On the side of public sector workers? - Nurses, midwives, doctors, paramedics, teachers, social workers, police, fire fighters, soldiers, backroom staff, cleaners, dinner ladies, lolly-pop ladies/men, refuse collectors, road sweepers etc. etc. etc. all of whom work extremely hard in and for our communities, without them and their dedication to duty and the public we would cease to function as a country, yet the Liberal Democrats have backed this government to slash these people's pensions, pensions they pay into and work very hard for, often doing the jobs others simply could not do, or do not wish to do. The government want public sector workers to work longer, pay more in and get less out, completely reneging on a previous pensions settlement. They are also backing the Tory government to make a million public sector workers redundant at a huge cost to our communities and hospitals etc.

On the side of the workers? - No of course not, the Liberal Democrats backed the chancellor in giving corporate tax cuts to the rich corporations. It's a Tory myth that reduced corporation tax leads to high growth and wage rises, if it did, then why did Ireland who had the the lowest corporation in tax in Europe end up in the terrible situation they are now in? (The same country that Osborne said he visited to look and learn from the brave way the Irish were running their economy - good job he wasn't in power then or we would now be in the same boat as Ireland!) Despite Osborne forcing this country to help bail out the Irish economy, he still refuses to ask the Irish to raise their 12.5% corporation tax, a tax set so low it not only greatly harmed the Irish economy leading to its virtual bankruptcy, it harmed the British economy as companies left this country to set up in Ireland!  The truth is that low corporation tax leads to hedge fund betting, gambling on the stock markets, higher CEO pay, stagnating wages and Corporation managers that are in a position to manipulate governments and influence policy without ever having to stand for election. It also allows multi-national companies like Vodafone and banks like Barclays to avoid paying their correct taxation in the country they make their vast wealth in. The Liberal Democrats now back the Tories in all of this. it is not these huge companies that create jobs in the economy in the UK, it is the many thousands of small companies that do this, companies that are getting a raw deal from this government and this Tory chancellor, companies that are being heavily pursued for their taxes while the Tory chancellor George Osborne allows his mate in Vodafone to get away without paying the £6 billion he owes this country in tax!

On the side of local communities? - No, the Liberal Democrats have voted with the government to slash local spending, forcing the closure of Sure Start Centres; home care for the elderly; Care for the disabled; Care Homes for elderly and the disabled which also often provide vital respite care to give carers a much needed break;  closing of Libraries, Leisure Centres; children's playgrounds; vital local bus services etc. yet as mentioned above Lib Dem minister have actually helped the government to implement this and then returned to their constituencies and instead of admitting that they are helping to the Tories to do all of this, they bizarrely campaign against themselves and their own cuts!

On the side of the elderly? - No, the Liberal Democrats helped the Tory government to cut up to £100 off of the Winter Fuel Allowance paid to pensioners, at a time when gas has risen at least 19% and electricity by at least 14%, forcing pensioners to choose between eating a hot meal or heating their homes. This is despite a pledge made by David Cameron to end fuel poverty by 2016. they have also backed the Tory government to withdraw free TV licences for the elderly and also to withdraw the elderly's free bus passes.

On the side of workers rights and our human rights? - No, the liberal democrats back the Tories to curb our human rights and our rights at work. By stopping legal aid, making it really difficult and expensive placing it beyond the reach of most working people to take a bullying and errant employer to a tribunal and making it easier for employers to sack their staff for little or no good reasons.

On the side of Britain's poorest? - No, Tax cuts for low and middle-income families in April will be dwarfed by hidden reductions in tax credits, according to a study for The Independent newspaper.

The analysis found that the £1bn of tax cuts in April will be outweighed by reductions of more than £2.5bn in the complex tax-credit scheme. 
The Government's flagship policy of raising income-tax thresholds has been trumpeted by the Liberal Democrats as their main achievement since the Coalition was formed last year – and a major boost for the low-paid.
But the Resolution Foundation think tank, which undertook the study, questions the fairness of the changes...
But basic-rate taxpayers will gain by a "very small" £41-a-year after the April rise in tax thresholds, according to the think tank – which describes it as "a relatively inefficient way of targeting the low to middle-income group because those on higher incomes also benefit". Most higher-rate taxpayers will also gain £41 a year!

On the side of  British industry, British Exports and British Jobs in Europe? - No, they backed Cameron's deliberate deceit of what actually happened regarding the veto in Brussels and helped him to deliberately con and mislead the British public. The result being this country is now side-lined in Europe and even business leaders like Richard Branson are condemning Cameron's rash and crazy attitude. Over 40% of our trade and 3 million jobs depend on the EU and the Liberal Democrats backed Cameron's shenanigans in playing to the xenophobic right wing of the Tory party. Cameron never had to use our veto in Europe, because at that point there was nothing to sign and nothing to veto, now our all important European trading partners treat us with contempt and we are now (thanks to Cameron) the laughing stock of Europe.

When the Liberal Democrats decided to join forces with the Conservatives to help form the Coalition Government, they told us that they were doing so to help keep the Tories in line and to curb some of the Tories excesses, in fact far from doing that, the Liberal Democrats have backed the Tories to the hilt in virtually everything, even over Europe. they have made a lot of noise about opposing the Tories but when "push comes to shove" they are right there with the Conservative government backing them and their right wing ideological policies to the hilt.

Liberal Democrats should feel particularly let down by MPs like Simon Hughes, and Bob Russell, who seemed to be holding out against what Clegg was doing to the Liberal Democrat party, when in the end these MPs have just weakly capitulated and became an ugly caricature of what they once were and of what values they once held, they have too have been bought out by the Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Tory party, how this must sickening the stomachs of Liberal Democrats supporters and grass roots activists and it would if they were being honest and it would if they have avoided being bought out by the Conservatives, however, here too at this level the great Tory "buy out" of the Liberal Democrat party is in evidence. The true people who know this is wrong have long gone, some have defected to labour to try and continue to fight for those they represent and others have just given up politics altogether. This was never so apparent in the local elections of May 2011 when the Liberal Democrats lost over half of their councils as their vote collapsed.

The Liberal Democrats cannot possibly be called "democrats" any longer, not by any stretch of the imagination, they cannot even be called "Liberal Democrats" any longer, they are now more "blue" than some of the moderate Tories and can only be described as "true blue Tories" and it is time they stopped their deceit and their masquerading  and admitted that they are Conservatives.

 It looks like the collapse in support for the Liberal Democrats is not going to be won back and come the general election they could very well be left with just a dozen or so MPs, yet still they do not seem to realise the danger they are in, and the government they are part of and fully back is now almost 20 months old, come summer we will be mid term and with the economy tanking and some analysts saying we are already in a double dip recession, time has all but run out and next year and the year after look to be the gloomiest for the economy. Liberal Democrat voters will quite rightly ask why their party has a supported a government that was hell bent on implementing austerity measures that the Liberal Democrats once themselves said would harm the economy. The Liberal Democrats once agreed with Labour that to implement such austere measures was unnecessary and would prove fatal for the economy and then once they got into power they changed their minds did a 180 degree turn and backed Osborne and Cameron's austerity measures which have done exactly what labour said they would do and what the Lib Dems also once said they would do and has harmed the British economy, reversed growth and caused soaring unemployment and destroyed consumer confidence.

And at the end of the day who are the Liberal  Democrats and what do they actually stand for? They have traded in all their beliefs for a brief synapse of power, they have not only betrayed their supporters, they have also betrayed the people of this country.

So the biggest losers of the political year must be awarded to the "Liberal Democrats" who have deliberately thrown away years of tradition, and more recently many years of hard slog in their constituencies building up their core vote, and to harness their ability to capture the "protest vote" and to grow their party and appeal to more moderate progressives - in favour of short term power and feeling of being important in Westminster. "Well done"!


Robert said...

Ah so not on the side of the sick or disabled, I'm finding it harder to find somebody to vote for these days

Gracie Samuels said...

What Miliband is doing is on the side of telling people the truth, he doesn't know the mess we will be in by 2015, so he refuses to make promises he may not be able to keep. I may not like that, but it is the truth! Get real Robert!