Lib-Con deal: support but also real anger among Lib Dem grassroots

Some Liberal Democrats have voiced concern, over the eagerness with which their leaders gave life to a Tory government and the consequences for themselves.

Though the establishment Lib Dem bloggers have fallen into line with the parliamentary party and the Federal Executive – only one member of which dissented – some Liberal Democrats have voiced concern, over the eagerness with which their leaders propelled David Cameron into Downing Street and the potential consequences for their electoral future.

Both Liberal Democrat Voice and Liberal Vision have given enthusiastic support to the coalition deal, as has leading Lib Dem blogger and Left Foot Forward contributor Mark Thompson, who felt it was “realistically the best outcome for the party and the country”.

The reaction of Lib Dem councillor Nich Starling, however, was one of anger and disgust:

Do I want to remain in a party that goes in to a full coalition with the Tories?… So much of me wants to just give up on the party, but in many ways, that is what our parliamentary party has done… Someone has to carry the torch for the Lib Dems, so I will, in all probably stay on.”

Cllr Starling, aka “Norfolk Blogger”, also asks “How many reasons do we need not to sit with the Tories? How many good reason do we need to know the Tories are not the people we want to sit with?”:

1) Homophobia – The Tories have consistently had problems with homophobia amongst their ranks. Chris Grayling started it all off again recently by claiming that B&B owners ought to be able to refuse to have gay peoiple staying in their establishments. Then we had the Tory PPC who set up a prayer group to use the power of religion to stop people geing gay. Need I go on and list all the others?…

2) Nadine Dorries – The twitter account deletion does not hide the fact that she calls people who are pro choice “Dr Death” and has numerous other issues that are totally incompatible with anyone who sees “fairness” as a core principles of their beliefs.

3) Voting reform – AV is not PR. Can I repeat that, AV IS NOT PR!

4) Murdoch – I always see it as a good rule of thumb that if Murdoch supports it, we ought to be against it.

5) Iraq – Let’s not forget, the Tories were more supportive of the idea of invading Iraq than Labour were.

6) The NHS – In leaflets distributed by the Lib Dems in the general election, we were apparently to be very afraid of the Tories gettinh their hands on the NHS as they would wreck it. Not my words, but those of the Lib Dems.

7) Non Doms – MPs who are Non-Doms, multi millionaire backers who are Non-Doms. Should I go on?

8) Flippers – Remember how many Tory MPs and Tory front benchers flipped their mortgages in order to gain the maximum amount from their expenses ? No Lib Dems did it. We were proud of that, but we’ll sit with those who do.

9) Cleaning up parliament – How many of Cameron’s front bench supported plans to reform parliamentary expenses before the expenses scandal broke? Would it surprise people that a majhority didn’t support reform?

10) Trident – Apparently we need a cold war weapons system?

He also tweeted:

“So all the lib dem negotiation team get cabinet posts. No wonder they were keen to support a deal. Ministerial cars seem so appealing!”

And:

“It’s electoral suicide and in the long term the death of the party. We won’t get PR as murdoch will see to that.”

14 Responses to “Lib-Con deal: support but also real anger among Lib Dem grassroots”

  1. Jeremy Dent

    Do more good in cabinet RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con deal: support but also real anger among Lib Dem grassroots: http://bit.ly/ctUIt2

  2. Anthony D Buckley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lib-Con deal: support but also real anger among Lib Dem grassroots: http://bit.ly/ctUIt2

  3. photo ex machina

    Let’s not rush to judgment just yet. I have a funny feeling everything’s going to work out… 😀

  4. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Lib-Con deal: support but also real anger among Lib Dem grassroots: http://bit.ly/ctUIt2

  5. Billy Blofeld

    Does Left Foot Forwards now have an identity crisis?

    The new government has a large progressive contingent. How will LFF react?

    1.Will LFF try and put the left-boot into the new government, because at heart LFF is just a Labour blog?

    or

    2. Or will LFF continue to be mainly supportive, and critical in extremis of fellow progressives?

  6. Tom White

    The idea that this government will be in any real sense ‘progressive’ is hilarious. Tories have a deep commitment to fostering inequality, and the Lib Dems won’t be strong enough to stop it ultimately. Calling the government ‘progressive’ is just clever political sloganising. It’s like Tony Blair trying to nick the ‘One Nation’ slogan…

  7. Rupert Read

    Credit where credit is due. There are some things that this new government is promising that are progressive – e.g. House of Lords reform, cancellation of the 3rd runway at Heathrow (though it will be interesting to watch closely this government’s attitude toward OTHER airports). And it is good to see an effort being made at a new pluralist politics that accepts that when we have PR we will often have to have coalitions etc.
    But, fundamentally, Tom W. is right. LFF’s role should be to develop a pluralist opposition, and be a good home for left-liberals unhappy with the sell-out to the Tories. Labour needs to renew itself, the Green Party now that it has an MP needs to step fully up to the plate of national politics… There will be plenty for LFF to do without it having to try to be a government blog too…

  8. SadButMadLad

    1) Homophobia
    Chris Gayling probably isn’t homophobic, just very stupid. As for being homophopbic, there are openly gay Tory MPs including Alan Duncan. Its alleged that the Tory PPC set up the prayer group, but no proof about the stopping people being gay. Isn’t the Labour Party all about allowing other people to have religous beliefs? Or is it so long as they aren’t Christian?

    2) Nadine Dorries
    No arguement there. She’s wierd. But there are nutters in the Labour party too.

    3) Voting reform – AV is not PR. Can I repeat that, AV IS NOT PR!
    Total agreement there.

    4) Murdoch – I always see it as a good rule of thumb that if Murdoch supports it, we ought to be against it.
    So the fact that Tony Blair was in bed with Murdoch means that you are against the Labour Party?

    5) Iraq – Let’s not forget, the Tories were more supportive of the idea of invading Iraq than Labour were.
    I got the feeling that Labour was more supportive since they were the ones making up the lies that the Tories believed were true.

    6) The NHS – In leaflets distributed by the Lib Dems in the general election, we were apparently to be very afraid of the Tories gettinh their hands on the NHS as they would wreck it. Not my words, but those of the Lib Dems.
    Election propaganda. Nothing to see. Move along.

    7) Non Doms – MPs who are Non-Doms, multi millionaire backers who are Non-Doms. Should I go on?
    And Labour has it’s own non-doms as well.

    8) Flippers – Remember how many Tory MPs and Tory front benchers flipped their mortgages in order to gain the maximum amount from their expenses ? No Lib Dems did it. We were proud of that, but we’ll sit with those who do.
    Labour were the most blatent flippers and fraudsters. Lib Dems might not have flipped but they still abused the expenses system. Maybe not personally as they generally fed it back into their party funds.

    9) Cleaning up parliament – How many of Cameron’s front bench supported plans to reform parliamentary expenses before the expenses scandal broke? Would it surprise people that a majhority didn’t support reform?
    No difference from the Labour Party.

    10) Trident – Apparently we need a cold war weapons system?
    Agreed on this point.

  9. Will Straw

    No identity crisis at all and (to coin a phrase) I’m with Rupert.

    The green package is promising as are some of the constitutional points of view. But there are other aspects which are extremely conservative which we will take a long hard look at.

    We will also be providing a neutral space for progressives to discuss the future of the Labour party.

  10. Casper ter Kuile

    I’m with Rupert!

  11. Nich Starling

    I’d be careful about agreeing with Rupert Read.

    As I exposed on my blog last weekend, Norwich Greens have a habit of moaning about everyone else doing what they do themselves. Nobody likes the holier than thou attitude, and this is magnified when they moan about Lib Dem election leaflets actually predicting the result correctly.

  12. Duncan

    Would you rather we have given the Tories free reign to govern?

    It’s one thing to criticize a driver for turning left when he should have truned right, it’s another thing to criticize him for not flying through the air. Labour backbenchers scuppered the idea of a progressive coalition; blame Labour

    As it was you had two options
    a) A pure Tory government, without a majority but with easy means of getting one should life be made too difficult for them.
    b) A mostly Tory government with Liberal ministers constrained by Liberal Democrat policies from being out-right Tory.

    Please stop whining and spinning against the LibDems for the benefit of Labour and get on with what this blog is supposed to be; policy analysis from a progressive point of view. If we all get through this parliament more or less intact we’ll have a better voting system which can deliver the numbers we need for a Lib-Lab pact which was the first choice of every member of the parliamentary party with the possible exception of David Laws.

  13. Robert

    I am a long term liberal democrat grassroots supporter but I have been dismayed by the betrayal that I have seen from the Liberal Democrats in stitching up this deal with the Conservatives.

    In short, the Lib Dem’s complete abandonment of their core policy of proportional representation, without any concession on the part of the Conservatives for a proportional system at a time of unprecedented power and opportunity for the Liberal Party, has set the Lib Dem cause back irrevocably.

    I can see no coherent argument in voting for them in the future as they have cleared betrayed their values for political expediency.

    There is little to no progressive element in any of the major parties, no real desire for reform just an endless appetite for lies, spin and manipulation to attain power at any cost.

    There is no such thing as integrity in mainstream political parties in the UK.

  14. raymond

    Con-Dems looks like an old Etonian reunion / lets hope the lib-dems are paid back at the ballot box

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