There is a workable and generous offer on the table and I don’t think that we can realistically go any further. The simple truth is that the Lib Dems are well to the left of Labour, except for a small group of “Orange Bookers” in Clegg’s leadership team. The other levels of their party will not be happy with a Conservative coalition at any price.
The secret negotiations with Labour completely contradicted Nick Clegg’s assertion that the party with the largest number of seats/votes deserved the support of the Lib Dems and showed that his promises cannot be taken at face value.
I will lay my cards on the table, the actions of the Lib Dems in the last few days disgusts me.
We have troops serving in Afghanistan but their equipment, welfare, support or even repatriation are not Lib Dem deal-breakers. We have the largest deficit in the country’s history but taxation policy, spending plans or areas for ring-fencing are not deal-breakers. We have an education system which is failing millions of young people yet charter schools, pupil premiums, academies, top up fees or exam standards are not deal-breakers.
No! The deal breaker is the Lib Dems’ desire to change the voting system to one that favours them. Huge issues need to be addressed in the country but Lib Dems, who were largely rejected at the ballot box, are obsessed with a narrow partisan point. As this uncertainty adds to our Britain’s economic woes the Lib Dems are looking out for themselves.
The joke of it is that PR would kill the Lib Dems as a party. Their literature from the last election, or indeed any election, and you will see that their main selling point is that they are not one of the big two. “Only the Lib Dems can beat Labour here” or “beat the Conservatives here” is their battle cry, they act like Tory-lite in Conservative areas and Socialist-lite in Labour areas, this tactic will be lost to them as soon as they prop up one of the other parties as the will have to do in the perpetually hung parliaments that they desire.
The Lib Dem fallacy is that people will vote under a PR system in the same way that they currently do, the evidence proves otherwise. In the London Assembly elections and in the EU elections (both under PR) the Lib Dems do worse than they do at the General Election or council elections both of which are First Past the Post.
I don’t think that there is a deal to be done with the Lib Dems, I would love to be wrong but I fear I am not. I believe they will jump into bed with Labour and the Nationalists, who will demand no spending cuts in Wales and Scotland as their price. England (where the Conservatives have a significant majority of seats) will bear the brunt of the public spending cuts and tax increases that will inevitably come. Labour and the Lib Dems will destroy themselves politically for a generation if they form a coalition and I worry that they will also split the Union and destroy the country economically in the process.
For all our sakes I hope that I am wrong.