Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives


Our guest writer is Mary Thorogood (@marythorogood), Editor of Cameron’s Councils

The Tories boldly claim that Cameron’s Councils demonstrate their vision for national government. If their vision is realised on May 7, a ‘no-frills’, unfair and dogma-driven government may well be the order of the day. But what if we find ourselves in the largely unchartered waters of hung parliament territory this time next week? Where can we look for an indication of how the country could be governed?

Nationally, the Liberal Democrats pitch themselves as centre-left progressives but there are 18 councils where the Liberal Democrats have formed governing coalitions with the Tories. These include Leeds, Camden and Britain’s largest council, Birmingham. These councils provide a salutary warning for what could happen if a Lib-Con coalition takes place next week.

Birmingham Council is billions in debt and accused of financial mismanagement after the Labour Leader warned of a budget crisis last year. The ruling coalition is also accused of misusing the government’s Working Neighbourhood Fund money to plug a hole in the finances which they have since denied. And while the council struggle with their debt crisis, they are cutting scrutiny of their council and spending hundreds of thousands on balloons and pens

Tory/Lib Dem-run Leeds City Council has been demolishing successful learning centres and closing adult day care facilities – not unlike Cameron’s Councils. The council has also been accused of wasting money on consultants and mismanaging the Regeneration Department. Not quite the “fair, decent, transparent politics” that Mr Clegg has been calling for.

Nick Clegg says MPs should serve their constituents, not make a fast buck on the property market. But the Tory/Lib Dem Camden council is pursuing an aggressive policy of selling off council homes in the borough, allowing private property developers to make huge profits by ‘flipping’ or reselling them quickly onto the open market.

The smaller, but no less important, Tory/Lib Dem councils also tell a similar story to Cameron’s Councils Carlisle has been slashing funding from community centres whilst Brent is closing community centres and hiking charges. 

There are obvious inconsistencies between what Clegg is telling the electorate nationally and what his local party is doing and even this varies from constituency to constituency. If the Lib Dems are to be taken seriously, they need to find a coherent vision at a local level.

Local – and national – government by coalition is rarely easy and compromises have to be made. But it seems that local Lib Dems are all too quick to ignore the supposedly progressive agenda of their national party to join the Tories in power. We may soon find out if their national colleagues will follow their lead.

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  • http://twitter.com/paulstpancras/status/13191886653 paulstpancras

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/labourmatters/status/13192227670 labourmatters

    RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/mr_andy_c/status/13192482381 Andrew Collingwood

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/lucyfunf/status/13192719592 Lucy Chapman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/gmartin/status/13192828686 Graham

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/carola_wf2/status/13193290680 Carol Atack

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/sinnaluvva/status/13194193452 Malcolm Evison

    Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/djDwlT

  • http://twitter.com/fudgefaceabz/status/13194542795 abie

    RT @sinnaluvva: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/djDwlT

  • http://twitter.com/fio_edwards/status/13195065725 Fiona Edwards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/kevin_blanchard/status/13192145642 Kevin Blanchard

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/jenkins_voice/status/13192325626 Andrew Jenkins

    RT @labourmatters: RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/chrisplol/status/13192402353 Chris Paul

    RT @labourmatters: RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/andy_s_64/status/13192406126 Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW <Precisely why a Lib Dem vote is a Tory vote by proxy

  • http://twitter.com/marythorogood/status/13192416560 Mary Thorogood

    Here I am again on the dangers of a lib-con pact http://bit.ly/dB5iyY

  • http://twitter.com/viclanger/status/13192440948 Vic Langer

    RT @marythorogood Here I am again on the dangers of a lib-con pact http://bit.ly/dB5iyY

  • http://twitter.com/cameroncouncils/status/13192479491 Cameron’s Councils

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/colburnmark/status/13192636919 Mark Colburn

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/wesstreeting/status/13192638759 Wes Streeting

    RT @labourmatters: RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/viclanger/status/13192694468 Vic Langer

    RT @labourmatters: RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/emmapeate/status/13194536200 Emma Peate

    Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW (via @leftfootfwd)

  • Mr. Sensible

    This is an interesting one, Mary.

    I seem to remember 1 poll (can’t remember whether it was reported on this blog or elsewhere) which suggested that more Lib Dem Councillors would work with Labour than with the Tories.

    My own local council is a Lib-Lab coalition and it works well.

  • http://twitter.com/kmitchellgaunt/status/13234918450 Katherine Mitchell

    RT @labourmatters: RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • Rob

    Can we please get the RTs of the comments?

  • http://twitter.com/oranjd/status/13241156956 James Doran

    The Lib-Dems share power with the Tories in 18 councils, and it isn't "change that works for you" – http://bit.ly/bzbyWW #voteLabour

  • margaret mullane

    Just heard the Radio 4 Broadcast featuring Dagenham. As a Labour Council Candidate the programme failed to get across, as it didnt feature any candidates, how much contact with the voters this CLP has done in the past year. Jon Cruddas has lead a campaign where most evenings and weekends the CLP is out door knocking in Dagenham. The doorstep contact is huge.Massive achievements have been made from the Labour run Council. Radio Four managed to find a couple of people who hadnt seen anyone, didnt speak to anyone who had spoken to Jon or the Canvassers. I find this very misleading and dissapointing. If anything when we turn up the response is “not you again” and then they laugh and sometimes invite us in for a cup of tea.

  • http://twitter.com/ernbrown/status/13253548104 Ernie Brown
  • http://www.debrastorr.org Debra Storr

    Not sure if it’s on the list, but Aberdeenshire LibDems are in a coalition with the Tories. This means they are in favour of major road building, the 3rd Heathrow runway, and Trump’s dreadful resort at Menie – amongst other sins. See http://aberdeengreens.org.uk/news/libdems-advised-against-aberdeen-environment-event for more details.

  • http://twitter.com/amy_bentley/status/13270511835 Amy Bentley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con councils provide warning for progressives http://bit.ly/bzbyWW

  • http://twitter.com/itv_digital/status/13312783374 Kieron Casey

    An example of a Lib Dem/Conservative coalition = Leeds Council. #votelabour
    http://tinyurl.com/2vfy5se