Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation


9:55 pm - May 11th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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1. While I would have liked to see a broad Labour-Libdem alliance, I think that a “coalition of losers” would not have worked with the electorate unless there was a compelling reason why a Con-Lib coalition was not happening.

Clegg had always said his party would first negotiate with the party that won the most votes and he had to stick by that.

2. And the Libdems were under no obligation to do a deal with Labour. Brown was unpopular as leader and it’s not clear what was offered on the table. Some say Labour offered a referendum on full PR. But what about ID cards? Trident? Cutting taxes for the poorest? Libdems had an obligation to go with the party that offered them the sweetest deal and had a good chance of delivering on those promises. They did that, clearly.

3. This coalition won’t fail easily, and a lot of Labourites should be careful of being optimistic about that. Cameron and Clegg know that if their government fails soon, then a new Labour leader plus severe budget cuts would hurt them electorally. So expect this to be at least a 4-5 year parliament.

4. Which brings us to the biggest worry: if the Con-Dem-Nation works well, then it may seriously re-align politics in a way that could put Labour out of power for a generation. Why?

For a start the parties will happily pursue a broadly right-of-centre economic agenda. It may be fairly anti-Trade unions, pro-civil liberties and may even take some good elements from the Libdems (a serious agenda on the environment and cutting taxes for the poor). This means that the political centre will shift right-wards, and a lot of Libdem voters will become less anti-Tory.

If the future of politics is indeed coalition governments, then there is a real danger here that the future is anti-Labour majority than an anti-Tory majority.

5. And this potential anti-Labour majority is why Labourites should avoid burning their bridges with Libdem voters and activists.

The way forward now is surely for the left to argue even harder for civil liberties, low taxes for the poor and better policies for the environment. Otherwise there is no reason for Libdem voters to abandon the Con-Lib coalition and vote Labour.

6. Will Libdems be more sympathetic to Labour now? I’m not sure that will be the case. Senior left-wing Libdems will say that Labour did not offer them enough sweeteners. I don’t know if this is true, but it is true that Labour determination for a coalition government started faltering yesterday.

The political will just wasn’t there, and it’s no surprise then that a deal didn’t happen. There is no point blaming parties: the electoral results almost certainly made this happen.

The focus now should be to make sure that the Left can rebuild and expand in opposition.

Update:
A good point made by Ellie: Scorched Earth: A plea to labour and the left. (cheers Rupert)

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


It’s not good for Labour, and it’s a disaster for the country and the Liberals. But I think, multiplied by Caroline Lucas’s win, it could be the start of a Green surge.

The issue is that Labour will now spend the next 6 months/1 year/2 years/however long this govt lasts – and it will be a fixed term government, one change Labour never brought in – wailing about how evil the Lib Dems are, and that there is only one choice.

Their main argument for not joining the Lib Dems in an alliance was that being in opposition would allow for “renewal” – but what renewal can there be if all they offer is relentlessly negative attacks against the government? They have to offer a true alternative. But they won’t bother doing that, they’ll just be negative about every move the government does and assume that at some point they’ll just re-inherit power: much as the Tories knew at some point they’d get back into power, so let’s not bother with any real vision.

Labour – see you in 13 or 18 years time. Ciao

“it could be the start of a Green surge”

I suppose that makes it all alright then

From what I can gather, Labour ‘negotiators’ didn’t offer anything other than PR, which they couldn’t deliver. No movement on ID cards or other clearly set out red line issues. They didn’t want a deal and didn’t offer one. And told Salmond to get lost when he made rainbow coalition proposal.

All Labour did was strengthen Clegg’s hand and help Cameron force concessions from his backbenchers.

I said it wasn’t really possible, I didn’t expect Labour to just give up.

5. Chris Baldwin

“It may be fairly anti-Trade unions, pro-civil liberties”

You can’t be both of these things. Support for trade unions is a central pillar of any civil libertarian agenda.

Pro civil-liberties and cutting taxes on the poor.
Crikey – no wonder you Labourites don’t like this.

The issue is that Labour will now spend the next 6 months/1 year/2 years/however long this govt lasts

4 years. I don’t expect this govt to fall easily.

Their main argument for not joining the Lib Dems in an alliance was that being in opposition would allow for “renewal” – but what renewal can there be if all they offer is relentlessly negative attacks against the government?

Well, we’ll see how Labour progresses. But it does need renewal, vision, and serious attempts to attract the liberal vote.

I said it wasn’t really possible, I didn’t expect Labour to just give up.

Think they gave up because it wasn’t really possible or realistic. As for the SNP – I think that was because they are seen as the main opposition in Scotland.

8. Graham Smith

Interesting, but I think Labour as the only opposition party should be able to thrive. I do agree that Labour needs to get serious about civil liberties and political reform, drop the Blairite authoritarianism. That would be the best way to drive a wedge between Lib Dems and Tories and build a case for a Labour/Lib Dem coalition in the future.

9. Paul Moloney

I’m a bit baffled. Hasn’t the author of this piece recommended voting for both the Tories and the Lib Dems, and is now warning about a coalition of those parties?

P.

I realise that, as a Lib Dem, I and fellow Lib Dems aren’t going to be terribly popular with Labour members right now, so I’m wary of posting here at all. But since it seems the deals are all done now, there’s not much point in posturing; to be blunt, I honestly don’t see what else the Lib Dems could have done in the situation. I can point you to a whole series of posts I wrote (when I used to blog regularly) condemning Cameron in no uncertain terms, and I’m deeply ambivalent about being entangled in his government. But, on the balance of possibilities, I think it’s the best that could be achieved.

I think there’s a fair chance that this election will result in electoral armageddon for the Lib Dems – the options of Labour/Lib Dem/SNP coalition, Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, Conservative government with tacit Lib Dem support or a fresh general election in months were all either impossible or unappealing, and any of them would have created a huge risk to Lib Dem support. The Conservative coalition was the least-worst option for everyone concerned, resulting in a government that is stable and centrist rather than right-wing. I regret that a coalition with Labour was never really possible.

My best hope is that this will lead both the Tories and Labour in a more liberal direction. The Tories already look set to do some good things on civil liberties, and the coalition may encourage that tendency further. Labour can choose to oppose this, but I strongly hope that the Labour party breaks with the authoritarianism of the Blair and post-Blair era, forged in the shadow of 9/11, and returns to the more liberal ideals of 1997. It might be too much to hope for the Labour party to convert to the cause of electoral reform, but it’s not impossible.

All of this might damage the Lib Dems as a tribal political force, but frankly that’s a price worth paying if Britain gets more liberal government. It now seems possible that Cameron’s attempt to shift the Tories towards the centre on social issues will succeed, and Labour now has some freedom to stand up for more liberal policies without fearing the attack from the right that terrorised Labour leaders in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lib Dems haven’t become Tories. We’d still be happy to cooperate with Labour in future, but it would have to be a liberal Labour party. If we can have a new liberal consensus on civil liberties and social liberty, the focus of debate will shift to economic freedom, where there may be a lot more grounds for agreement. Labour can reinvent its approach to foreign affairs and break with the legacy of Iraq, and would find many friends in the Lib Dems if they did so.

Unless the Tories purge their own right wing then forget about a long-term realignment. (And they’re not going to purge their right wing, they’d have no-one left.) Above all, Tory and Lib Dem instincts on Europe are never going to align and they’re going to find it hard to paper over those cracks for the next four years. With genuine electoral reform, there is every chance of a progressive Labour-Lib Dem alliance in this country’s future. It could, should have happened today, but Labour’s heart just wasn’t in it. That’s OK. It’ll come. Just hold the faith on electoral reform.

@Sunny

“I don’t expect this govt to fall easily.”

Me neither – they’ve signed a fixed term parliament agreement, in itself more progressive a constitutional reform than Labour managed in 13 years – but expect Labour to be calling for another general election tomorrow.

@Graham Smith

“I think Labour as the only opposition party should be able to thrive”

I guess that makes all the cuts, etc alright then. They didn’t even try to give the Lib Dems a deal they could deliver. It was all just posturing. In the end it might turn out for the best, because had Brown not resigned when he did, the Tories may not have upped their deal to a referendum on AV. AV paves the way for STV – getting people used to preferential voting.

“Labour needs to get serious about civil liberties and political reform, drop the Blairite authoritarianism.”

I don’t see this happening. And if they even made it sound like they were being all lefty, you’d know it was just pure opportunism. They proved today, that, when given a slim chance to stop the Tories and bring in PR, they rejected it because they felt it was better for them to prepare to win some other time, and let the Tories/Lib Dems take the blame for the cuts Labour would’ve made had they stayed on.

Labour: party before country

5 – what, how?

One can be in freedom of speech, habeas corpus etc but not in favour of granting the Unions special privileges.

“All of this might damage the Lib Dems as a tribal political force, but frankly that’s a price worth paying if Britain gets more liberal government.”

This.

It’s a million to one chance, of course. So… how can we possibly fail?

“The way forward now is surely for the left to argue even harder for civil liberties, low taxes for the poor and better policies for the environment. Otherwise there is no reason for Libdem voters to abandon the Con-Lib coalition and vote Labour.”

I know you mean Labour when you say “the left”, but Labour haven’t been the left for a while now. Most of the Greens’ new membership is disaffected Lib Dems; New Labour aren’t interested in those people any more. Seems the Lib Dems are getting less and less interested in them too.

One further point: Labour really needs a much sharper critique of the Tories. Laurie Penny has been furiously blogging her anger at the Tories getting in, and whilst I share some of her sentiments and recognise a lot of what she’s saying, it’s striking that “the Tories are evil” is simply assumed without explanation. I know why this assumption is made, but this is because I care about politics and political history. Not that many other people do, and it seems clear that the visceral hatred of the Tories has faded to the point that they can – just about – do well enough at the polls to get into government. Ordinary people don’t automatically hate the Tories any more.

The challenge for the left will be to uncover and explain why the Tories are the wrong choice. “Because they’re the Tories!” is no longer sufficient. Blogging might be a big part of this, identifying those who suffer from Tory policies and bringing their cases to greater public attention. If Labour can adopt civil libertarianism, there’s still a chance to attack the Tories for being insufficiently liberal on that front too.

>I do agree that Labour needs to get serious about civil liberties and political reform, drop the Blairite authoritarianism.

I’ve always treated that as a “generation of Labour politicians formed under New Labour’s tutelege” thing, which means that it’s quite a big project to do.

Am I wrong?

>That would be the best way to drive a wedge between Lib Dems and Tories and build a case for a Labour/Lib Dem coalition in the future.

My one feeling for Labour is that it needs to be about being Labour rather than being anti-Tory. The former must be strategy, surely, and the latter just tactics?

@Alix

I have nothing but respect for Lib Dems who acknowledge that this might cost the Lib Dems dearly at the ballot box, but are willing to try and do what they can in government to change the country. It was that, or letting the Tories rule alone, call an early election, and get a majority.

I wouldn’t be too gloomy though. If there was another election, why do Labourites automatically assume they’d clean up at the expense of the Lib Dems? If the coalition works well, and the fact that they’ve already introduced a massive constitutional reform with a fixed term parliament, it is not beyond the scope of possibility that the voters will reward rather than punish the Lib Dems.

What will Labour have to offer? In-fighting and endless negativity about the government.

I voted Labour last week to help bring about a hung parliament. I am a member of no party, but what I do approve of is people being constructive and accepting progress however small or incremental. I might just join the Lib Dems and help them rein in the Tories.

“Labour really needs a much sharper critique of the Tories”

Fuck that. Labour needs to work out what it stands for, rather than define itself in opposition to something else. Will this happen? Don’t bet the House on it….

@10 (and others)

Can someone finally tell me:

What is wrong with leaving the Tories to sort it out themselves and set up a minority government? Why do the Lib Dems need to prop them up?

Sunny’s analysis fails to take into account that million sof Lib Dem voters and supporters and activists are deeply pissed off. I must say at least 9/10 Lib Dem voters I know and have spoken to are fuming.

PS Please note I’m typing this up fully aware that “senior Labour figures” are to blame for letting talks with the LDs collapse. But again, that doesnt mean the LDs had to then go and jump in bed with Cameron.

I think that a “coalition of losers” would not have worked with the electorate unless there was a compelling reason why a Con-Lib coalition was not happening.

Really?

From this very website a couple of days ago

A Populus poll for The Times suggests the public are open to a range of different outcomes from the inconclusive General Election.

The paper’s headline Public want Conservatives to share power with LibDems highlights the most popular option, though by a very narrow margin, as Peter Riddell reports.

And in fact a Labour-LibDem coalition (51 per cent) has more support than a full Tory-LibDem coalition (46 per cent, with 52 per cent against). A Tory minority government is just more popular than either (53 per cent), as long as it depends on LibDem support, and much the least popular option (29 per cent) if primarily based on an understanding with the Ulster Unionists.

In other words it was all up for grabs and Labour didn’t want to know.

Claude @ 20

A Tory minority government would have meant several things:

1) Cameron gets to choose when to hold the next election, and will use that to his advantage (he could, for example, propose measures that the other parties vote down, then accuse them of blocking change and hold an election to secure a majority for himself)

2) All departments would be headed by Tories. That matters, because plenty of decisions get taken by ministers without votes in the Commons. A Lib Dem Home Secretary would give us very different government to a Tory Home Secretary, for example.

3) Coalition gives the Lib Dems ability to make bigger deals on policy. A Tory minority government might still be proposing to cut inheritance tax, give tax breaks for marriage, and leave taxes for the poorest where they are. They might not be prepared to take even baby steps towards electoral and political reform.

4) The government would be weak at a time when we need stability. Collaborative government is a good thing, but weak government isn’t. Where taxes may need to rise to reduce the deficit, a weak government would be unable to implement them.

On almost any measure, a coalition is better than than a Tory minority government – aside, perhaps, from the electoral prospects of the Lib Dems. As I said before, it’s a price worth paying, albeit not a pleasant one.

Rob@22

A Tory minority government would have meant several things:

1) Cameron gets to choose when to hold the next election, and will use that to his advantage (he could, for example, propose measures that the other parties vote down, then accuse them of blocking change and hold an election to secure a majority for himself)

Cameron still gets to choose when. As soon as his party are ready, they can cause that and call the election. Anytime. The LDs won’t be able to influence that. They havent got the numbers.

2) All departments would be headed by Tories. That matters, because plenty of decisions get taken by ministers without votes in the Commons. A Lib Dem Home Secretary would give us very different government to a Tory Home Secretary, for example.

As above. The moment the Tories are fed up or see they get constantly held back, they’ll go back to the ballot box. They know they cant do much worse than May 6. The LDs instead, barring a miracle, will be wiped out.

“3) Coalition gives the Lib Dems ability to make bigger deals on policy. A Tory minority government might still be proposing to cut inheritance tax, give tax breaks for marriage, and leave taxes for the poorest where they are. They might not be prepared to take even baby steps towards electoral and political reform.

A Tory minority government would NOT have had the numbers to pass any of the above. They would simply have been exposed to the country. If the LDs hadn’t got their hands dirty, so to speak, they could have used it to their advantage at the next elections.

“4) The government would be weak at a time when we need stability. Collaborative government is a good thing, but weak government isn’t. Where taxes may need to rise to reduce the deficit, a weak government would be unable to implement them.”

Oh dear. This is Daily Mail-Speak. On those bases I take it you’d agree to prop up anything in the name of “strong government”. Are cuts also gonna be done “in the name of stability”?

The LibDems have played their cards wrong. Also thanks to sheer ineptitude from some senior Labour ejits…but still…

A Tory minority government would NOT have had the numbers to pass any of the above.

Yes, but then they immediately hold a fresh election and win the outright majority needed to pass their proposed legislation.

Cameron still gets to choose when. As soon as his party are ready, they can cause that and call the election. Anytime. The LDs won’t be able to influence that. They havent got the numbers.

The agreement, apparently, includes a fixed 5-year term. Cameron can only call an early election by going back on his word. I don’t trust him much, but he would have to pay a significant reputational price to do it.

The moment the Tories are fed up or see they get constantly held back, they’ll go back to the ballot box. They know they cant do much worse than May 6.

On the contrary, Labour may well be expected to bounce back at the next election, provided it’s held after six months or so and isn’t a re-run of this GE. The Tories can easily do worse than they did this time – the last time they did any better was 23 years ago. There’s massive uncertainty now, and Cameron has shown himself to be pretty cautious when it comes to risking defeat.

I have always been perturbed by ‘certain’ policies being merely labelled ‘progressive’ and then hailed as such. I will leave aside the issue of unpacking what is meant by progressive in the UK context (I know and understand its historical anchorings in US history, its evolution and transformations and how/why many US left and liberal groups adopted the mantle of ‘progressives’), since I am still unsure what people here in the UK mean when they use the term. It is beginning to be a Queen of Hearts moment.

The decision to adopt fixed parliamentary terms is not – to me – obviously progressive (whereas certain positions on civil liberties are). This was not discussed in any systematic way in the campaign; there is no long history of a movement towards it – which refined and developed the arguments; there has been neither a wide nor deep debate on this issue. Yes of course there have been proposals by some campaigners, but this is a very major constitutional change , and, unlike the reform of the House of Lords, it cannot be argued that there was a clear mandate to make this change as a result of this particular election.

I hope to return to a discussion of what specific policies merit the term progressive if that debate develops – eg I do not think ‘free university tuition’ is inherently a progressive policy althoughj it regularly appears in the list of the ‘givens.’

@Claude

Cameron still gets to choose when. As soon as his party are ready, they can cause that and call the election. Anytime. The LDs won’t be able to influence that. They havent got the numbers.

They have agreed to a five-year fixed term parliament – in itself, more progressive than most of the things Labour have done in 13 years on constitutional reform. This means the government would only be dissolved if the Lib Dems withdrew their support and joined Labour in a vote of no confidence – it gives the Lib Dems the power to walk away!

If for whatever reason there is another general election – a fixed term parliament should prevent that – then the Lib Dems might get squeezed but the Tories would still crush Labour.

Chris Huhne as Home Secretary – he will be the best Home Sec we’ve had for decades, far better than the illiberal shower that Labour brought in. Bye bye ID cards and the database state….

All you Lib Dem advocates – hang your heads in shame now. You have no credibility left at all.

Elaine @ 25:

The decision to adopt fixed parliamentary terms is not – to me – obviously progressive (whereas certain positions on civil liberties are). This was not discussed in any systematic way in the campaign; there is no long history of a movement towards it – which refined and developed the arguments; there has been neither a wide nor deep debate on this issue.

I think this might say more about the vagueness of the term “progressive” than anything else. However, the reason fixed term Parliaments are considered a good thing from a liberal perspective is that it removes an important imbalance of power between the Prime Minister and his/her political opponents. When PMs can call elections at will, they have a tremendous advantage over their rivals. Incumbent governments are powerful things, and this change reduces their power and can hence be considered to be a liberal/progressive measure.

As for the history, there certainly is a long history of people arguing for this kind of thing (any democracy founded or revised after the 17th century probably has fixed term Parliaments!). It’s a standard demand on the lists of political reforms that campaign groups produce. Admittedly, this does not give it wide currency outside of the political nerdosphere, but it’s still a positive move.

29. Sick of this crap

fuck you, and take responsibility and realise what you have done backing this party up. this deal should finally put paid to the myth of this party being ‘progressive’ and shown them up as simple opportunists.

and by the way, there is no such this as ‘the poor people’s tax,’ a tax cut it is a cut in EVERYBODY’S tax, and this is NOT GOOD FOR POOR PEOPLE. if you want to help people use targeted tax breaks, give them a crazy name like ‘tax credits,’ if only we had a progressive party to put them forward….

surely the important thing for the country is policies not parties. cameron seems a liberal tory who would have been villified as a wet by thatcher and tebbit. plus they aren’t governing alone theres a big libdem involvement. surely the tory right (who despise cameron and co) are big losers today.

Elaine, fixed term parliaments have been a demand of reformers since the Chartists in the 1840s. Certainly a key demand of most reform organisations.

32. Arthur Seaton

Here’s a bottom line.

Those who voted Liberal Democrat, and still moreso those who advocated that others do so (yep that’s you Graun and Sunny) have voted for a party now in bed with the Tories, propping up their government and allowing them to do their dirty work in slicing up services and shitting over any meagre advances made for working people over the last decade. Ye, ID cards will be scrapped, good – but not good enough I’m afraid.Not nearly. Lib Dem support will evaporate back to the “core” Liberal vote of the 70s after their complicity in the Tory savagery of the next couple of years becomes clear. That will be the only good outcome, as a lot of naive, foolish individuals who thought Orange Book Clegg and his clique were anything other than free marketeers, with an active and fairly open interest in attacking the union movement and the concept of economic equality, will finally be disabused of their illusions.

And once they realise what a mistake they’ve made, an apology, an admission they’ve been wrong, and a statement they won’t do it again would be good.

34. It Was Sunny Wot Won It

The challenge for the left will be to uncover and explain why the Tories are the wrong choice. “Because they’re the Tories!” is no longer sufficient.

^^That.

fuck you [Hundal], and take responsibility and realise what you have done backing this party up.

^^^That too.

How can Labour supporters attack the Lib Dems, when in 13 years of government they could’ve introduced electoral reform, abolished the Lords, not gone to war with Iraq, etc etc

This government wasn’t even around for 5 minutes before introducing fixed term parliaments, a demand (as Mat points out) of reformers for centuries.

@35

Steady on Mr Lightwood – as I understand it Parliament has to re-open (or howver it’s phrased) and a Queen’s Speech made etc before anyone can say that this new government has “done” anything of substance.

Agreed, kinda, about Labour though. They (mostly) wasted 13 years to actually change the goddamn system.

If you want to have an influence on the left through the Labour party now is a good time to start. Quite a blank canvas.

38. It Was Sunny Wot Won It

Dave Bones

If you want to have an influence on the left through the Labour party now is a good time to start. Quite a blank canvas.

Yeah right. Sunny was going to be the saviour of the left, until he backed the Lib Dems on LibCon.

@Dave

“If you want to have an influence on the left through the Labour party now is a good time to start.”

This is the Labour Party that just torpedoed the last chance for electoral reform for a generation? The Labour Party of John Reid, David Blunkett, Diane Abbott and Tom Harris?

I wouldn’t waste my time with that lot…

40. Hibernica

I do love how four months ago no-one was correctly predicting the current situation, yet everyone can now confidently tell me what will happen for the next five years.

41. Hibernica

Also, I would have taken “don’t be seduced by power, stick to your beliefs” from the Labour Party of 1983. The Labour Party of 2010? Bugger off.

42. vicarious phil

Seeing David Cameron become PM doesn’t please me for sure (wasn’t his speech outside No 10 nervy and a bit weak?)

But, Labour’s vote dropped significantly, the Tories did very well. But no one did well enough to form a government.

Lets be honest Labour didn’t deserve to win the election, it’s campaign was poor, largely negative and at times bordered on the mendacious.

The LibDems had a fairly good campaign, the vagaries of the system meant despite an improved vote share they went down a few seats. Maybe they deserve a crack at government.

The Lib-Lab idea had too many weaknesses…reliance on too many parties with competing interests, lack of certainty over who’d become PM after Brown, maybe Labour’s leadership were just too battered by recent events to be ready to cosy up with political opponents.

The good news might be…yes we get a Cameron government but it will hopefully be one where civil liberties are a priority, this government will have little of no money to spend so one thing can do with great expense is repeal some legislation.

Whoever won the election, the UK has got massive debts and they are going to have to be addressed. Gordon Brown knew this, if the NHS and schools get some measure of protection, then lower profile arms of government are due very tough times and it wouldn’t have mattered whether Cameron or Brown was PM.

Labour should seize the opportunity to renew, have the debates encourage a wide field to contest and debate the leadership from Milibands to McDonnells. Only then will they will able to earn the right to govern again.

43. Charlie 2

Sunny . Labour should worry if Cameron shows similar skills to Disraeli. Labour need to address why large parts of England votes Tory.

@27

what was the alternative?

Labour Lib Dem coalition? How? Do the maths, Labour seats plus Lib Dem seats still leaves us short of a maj. Labour rejected this morning the option of including the SNP; making a rainbow “coalition of the losers” impossible

LibDems choices? a) accept to go into coalition with the Tories b) go into coalition with Labour (and magically conjure up more seats) c) reject both

If we rejected both – we would expect an outcry of how irresponsible we were being, britain in a deficit, needs a strong gov etc…

Go with Labour – ideologically, true, we’re close, but Nick Clegg always said he would go with the party with the clearest mandate, and whichever way you want to spin in, that is not Labour. Fact. Furthermore, if you do the maths, the numbers simply do not add up

Go with Tories – with the results of the elections, we are forced to have a Tory government. Better to have one that is tempered by the Lib Dems

Lib Dems haven’t sold out, but have tried to make the best of what there was. BTW, a coalition does not mean the Lib Dems will blindly vote with everything the tory wants.

large parts of england have always voted tory. millions of working class people voted for thatcher repeatedly. after 13 years of labour in power i’m surprised the tories did relatively poorly. labour will gain more councils in opposition leading to a stronger base in a few years.

46. Rick Smith

If Labour gave a monkeys about civil liberties they wouldn’t be in the pickle they’re in now.

I don’t expect that attitude to change any time soon.

Sunny, are you serious in raising Trident or “lower taxes for the poor” as issues in preventing a coalition with Labour?

If so, can you tell me if the Tories offered refusing to renew Trident or serious redistribution as part of a deal for coalition? (That’s if the Lib Dem manifesto actually redistributes money towards the poorest, which it doesn’t)

Anguish, lulz =]

@44 Alice

“If we rejected both – we would expect an outcry of how irresponsible we were being, britain in a deficit, needs a strong gov etc…”

Since when do we care? You always get the right-wing press chucking bucketloads of hatred at anything remotely left of Thatcher anyway.

When the LibDems did the right thing and voted against the war in Iraq I don’t recall anyone saying that “yeah but now we’re going to be called wet and irresponsible at a crucial time for our nation”.

@26 Mark
I said before, the most frustrating thing is that we cannot say Labour was/is a viable alternative. They had 13 bleedin years and the numbers (massive najorities too!) to do whatever they are now faffing about.

But still, I’m sorry. I didn’t vote and support LibDem to have Cameron as PM. I know Chris Huhne is gonna be good and yay ID card smay be shelved (though I’ll believe it when I see it). But, let’s not fool ourselves mate. This is a Tory government and the Tory party (and rightly so) are not going to sit back and let a minority (the LDs) call the shots. Not on your nelly.
They didnt wait 13 years for this.

@49 Claude

We’ll see. Have you seen the list of concessions the Lib Dems extracted from the Tories? They’ve basically managed to put most of the Lib Dem manifesto into government.

The Tories being in power aren’t the fault of the Lib Dems. It was a choice between having some good guys in the Cabinet, and some good policies, and minority Tory rule, which Cameron would’ve called a second election during and came home with a majority. I know which side of my toast is buttered.

51. nick cohen is a tory

Why do you think the Tories are going to be different about civil liberties.
Yes scrap the ID card.
Most in Labour party would now agree with that.
but rememeber there were many Tories who supported that idea as new labourites
But wait for the first terrorist outrage and rabid Tories like their press, cjcjc, Nasty Nick and matt will be asking for detention camps for muslims.
Surveillance society. Boris is asking for the number of cameras to be doubled for the tube.
Are the Tories and lib dems going to reduce the number of camera’s
Foreign policy
Are we pulling out of Afghanistan
What about the next Kosovo ?
How are the liberals going to deal with Gay rights with christian fundamentalists and the Grayling wing.
the death penalty is still popular amongst most Tory MP’s
When we hear the right talk about swamping by immigrants.

It makes me laugh hearing thatcherite clon es like cjcjc talk about the poor when in this creep was walking around the Young conservative “Fuck the poor” t shirts.
Predictions
1. Their will be a crisis and the government will collapse
2. The press will blame the liberals.
3. Hague or Davies will replace Cameron.
4. The country will become like Japan, continually right of centre. Too many southern tory tribal voters.
5. Labour party will break up in the next 10 years.
6. A referendum on PR will be a no. The press will use the spectre of the BNP and Italy.
7. Nick Cohen will get a knighthood for services rendered to the Tory party.

Yeah, it’s all Sunny and the Guardian’s fault that Labour lost. Before LibCon and the Guardian came out in favour of the LibDems Labour was flying high in the polls and the LibDems were struggling along at a mere 29-30%. With Sunny’s endorsement they then soared to 23% in the actual vote and that 1% increase from the last election wiped out that huge lead which Labour had established.

nick cohen iat – have you considered anger management?

you should

Have you ever been to Japan?

And then Clegg was so concerned with protecting his own interests he spurned the chance of a deal with Labour and formed a deal with the Tories which would mean

More compromises over policy
Almost certainly less influence for him and his colleagues than he would have got with Labour
A worse offer on PR
Huge unrest within his party
A loss of seats in the next election as he loses support from left wing voters

I mean how selfish can you get.

Why do you think the Tories are going to be different about civil liberties.
Yes scrap the ID card.
Most in Labour party would now agree with that.

Shame they never voted that was, isn’t it?

but rememeber there were many Tories who supported that idea as new labourites
But wait for the first terrorist outrage and rabid Tories like their press, cjcjc, Nasty Nick and matt will be asking for detention camps for muslims.

Well, they’re going to be disappointed. Only the right-wing faction of the Tory party will want those things, and they will be entirely unable to get Parliamentary support for it – unless Labour back them up. The Lib Dems wouldn’t be able to vote for something like that and I doubt that the Tory left (such as it is) would either.

Surveillance society. Boris is asking for the number of cameras to be doubled for the tube.
Are the Tories and lib dems going to reduce the number of camera’s

As I understand it, there’s certainly going to be greater regulation on the use of CCTV. Not quite sure what Boris is on about – is there really that much crime on the tube?

Foreign policy
Are we pulling out of Afghanistan
What about the next Kosovo ?

No party has advocated withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it’s pretty clear that the mission there needs to have clearer objectives.

How are the liberals going to deal with Gay rights with christian fundamentalists and the Grayling wing.

By alternately ignoring and laughing at them, as per usual, I should think.

the death penalty is still popular amongst most Tory MP’s

Most? I find that unlikely. Even so, the Parliamentary arithmetic puts that kind of thing off the table.

When we hear the right talk about swamping by immigrants.

I’m not sure how immigration policy is going to shake out. We need a much less hateful dialogue when it comes to immigration, and I’d hope that the Tories respect that. The first step that has been announced is the end to the detention of child immigrants, which bodes well (and shames the Labour party for not having done so themselves, frankly).

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t warm up to a government featuring George Osborne, William Hague, Liam Fox and A. Lansley right at the top just because Chris Huhne will be the Energy secretary and other crumbs… (interesting to note the delusion in some quarters when last night some LD activists were fooling themselves that Huhne was certain to be the new Home Secretary)

Am I alone in thinking that the Lib Dems have just signed their own suicide note?

@51

Why do you think the Tories are going to be different about civil liberties.

Um – because of their fairly consistent opposition to Labour’s outrages since 1997?

In the mathematical calculations of the failure of the soi-disant ‘progressive coalition,’, it is easy for the Liberal Democrats to sneer at the inability of the Labour Party to ‘control’ its dissidents. The Labour Party had dissidents on Iraq, Trident, on civil liberties, and on a raft of progressive issues. I often wonder why the LD does not have its dissidents. On Radio 4 a LD spokesman(sic) said that in the meeting of the LD MPs and Council, there was not one objection (or vote against) the coalition. It seems ironic that ‘liberals’ are so conformist and can be whipped so well. Ahhh principles………

That LDs are now quick to say it was Labour’s ‘fault’ there could not be a progressive coalition, we had no ‘choice’ (yes they did – they could have offered supply and confidence for a Tory government). But many of us know about Lib/Conn alliances at local level and how some LD councils rule …… Ahhh pragmatism.

BTW re civil liberties and CCTV, in my LD/Tory flip-flopping borough (with the lowest crime rate in London), the LDs and Tories vied with one another on who could promise and deliver more CCTV cameras in their manifestos.

Elaine,

“BTW re civil liberties and CCTV, in my LD/Tory flip-flopping borough (with the lowest crime rate in London), the LDs and Tories vied with one another on who could promise and deliver more CCTV cameras in their manifestos.”

Not that I agree with survielance state, but what came first, the low crime rate or the CCTV? Your statement leaves it unclear.

In Liam Fox (Defence Secretary) and William Hague (Foreign Secretary) we’re promised fawning relationships with the US, the arms industry and the lowest of war criminals. Don’t’cha feel safe, guys?

Why do you think the Tories are going to be different about civil liberties.

Um – because of their fairly consistent opposition to Labour’s outrages since 1997?

Good grief man, have you never been through a change of government before? Labour were against more-or-less all of the policies they eventually implemented when they were in opposition too. There are two basic positions in British political life, but they’re not Right and Left (or any other such ideological formulation), they’re Government and Opposition. Expect the Tories to support everything they once opposed (except sucking up to the rich, obviously, not that they ever really opposed that) and Labour to oppose everything they once supported.

if the Con-Dem-Nation works well, then it may seriously re-align politics in a way that could put Labour out of power for a generation.

That’s a pretty fucking big “if”. Lets face it, Hell is coming to Frogtown, and it always was no matter who got in – the only question was over who was getting the blame. Now we know it’s the Tories and the LibDems.

Next year’s Scottish Parliament elections are going to be fun though…

62. Nick cohen is a Tory

“But rememeber there were many Tories who supported that idea as new labourites
But wait for the first terrorist outrage and rabid Tories like their press, cjcjc, Nasty Nick and matt will be asking for detention camps for muslims.

Well, they’re going to be disappointed. Only the right-wing faction of the Tory party will want those things, and they will be entirely unable to get Parliamentary support for it – unless Labour back them up. The Lib Dems wouldn’t be able to vote for something like that and I doubt that the Tory left (such as it is) would either.”
What Tory left ?
Rob that is my point.
Rabid Tories like cjcjc and their press will call for the 42 day rule and camps. That is why the coalition will collapse
Rob also In think Afghanistan will be a problem and remember Gove and hague are strong neo con who are after Iran
UK liberty
What outrages haven’t been backed up by the Tories and the right wing press.
name anything your boys would have done different.
The only party that could hold it’s head up high on civil liberties are the lib dems.

Watchman
Not that I agree with survielance state, but what came first, the low crime rate or the CCTV? Your statement leaves it unclear.
Then why blame Labour for that state when maybe technology has more to that state imposed rules.
Perhaps it was Tescos and private industry protecting their property and not big brother labour who introduced the cameras

cjcjc
sayonora

So. Farewell then the Liberal Democrats. No one on the left will ever vote for them again and it’ll soon dawn on the right that they don’t need them. As for them moderating the Conservative’s right wing, you might just as well try to domesticate a Boa Constrictor. I’m sure Cameron (or Boris) will call an election before any attempt to actually do anything about PR, even the pathetic AV system. Meanwhile we have a continuation of the failed economic policies of the past thirty years but with even more punishment for the poor, cause we know its them not rich scroungers who’ve wrecked the economy. As Cameron’s smarmy mask slips and reveals the arrogant, patronising toff beneath and his Big Society is revealed as sacking public sector workers and getting them to do the same jobs under workfare (as happened in New York) we can prepare for riots in England and independence for Scotland (followed by a wave of economic migrants/refugees from England) as Cameron pays back those who shovelled £2million a week into the Tories electoral campaign. I have no confidence in Labour’s leading contender Monkey Boy Milliband whose party will be content to idle their way through the next parliament till the wheel turns again and everyone hates the Conservatives and it’ll be their turn, they can hardly oppose Conservative policies when they’ve embraced so many of them with such enthusiasm. At the root of it all is the lack of real democracy which sees all parties in thrall to rich donors and a tiny number of apsirant middle class voters in marginal seats. Me, I’m selling up and leaving the country

Watchman – thank you for the question.
In haste
I now live in Richmond borough and Cable’s constituency. It has always had one of the lowest crime rates in London. I wonder (not) why.

The impact of new CCTV cameras on local crime rates is probably zilch. There is somewhat of a problem in town centres (Richmond and Twickenham) with alcohol related crime/disturbance and some neglected neighborhoods. Nevertheless, as local people we are now able to challenge premise licensing (‘authoritarian’ Labour achievement). I guess I could try to use FOI (‘authoritarian’Labour achievement) to find out whether the Council has done an impact assessment, but I won’t. I recognise pandering when I experience it.

At my Safer Neighborhood meetings (‘authoritarian’Labour achievement) I cannot recall having encountered a ‘progressive/civil liberties’ discourse from local LD councillors or activists when discussing practice on CCTV or on ‘dispersal zones’ or ‘boisterous youth in local parks’ or ‘the outsiders.’ However, I missed the MP hustings this time where one might -hopefully – have encountered some semblance of a pro-civil liberties discourse without any NIMBY inflection.

I agree that there is an appropriate use of CCTV. Eg. I helped push for and supported a CCTV camera to inhibit very dangerous parking in a bus stop. I accept that there are other contexts in which it contributes to community safety. I would never arrogantly dismiss community calls for CCTV as merely ‘reactionary’ as so many LD commentators do. You just need a serious discussion of alternatives and implications; you have got to ‘progress’ the argument and offer genuine alternatives.

Sorry to sound so snarky. I do apologise. It is just one of many, many examples where my local experience with and considered assessment of a range of policies seemed to be so at odds with the prevailing discourse about the LD as the true progressives.

Hope this is constructive…. but realise my tone reflects my mood.

nick cohen is a tory,

UK liberty
What outrages haven’t been backed up by the Tories and the right wing press.
name anything your boys would have done different.
The only party that could hold it’s head up high on civil liberties are the lib dems.

rubbish.

Here are but a few examples:

90, 60, and 42 day detention without charge
ID cards and forcing people to be on the database
‘encouragement’ of terrorism
extradition to the USA without the prerequisite of a prima facie case
fraud trials without juries
inquests without juries
secret inquests and changing inquests to inquiries

and they are just a few examples of what made it to the votes. There were some dreadful proposals coming from the Government – such as lowering the standard of proof in rape cases.

The Tories and LibDems were allies on these issues – along with 20-30 Labour MPs.

Labour has spent the last 13 years demonstrating that it is not the party of civil liberties. Get over it.

Honestly I wouldn’t worry about the Con-Dems being a rip-roaring success or lasting a full five years for these reason.
1) Traditional Tories do not like it and will drift even further to UKIP.
2) Electoral wipe out for the Lib-Dems in marginal seats recently taken from labour.
3) electoral wipe-out in Scotland and wales.
4) Electoral reforms will not pass through the house. Labour have one of the most effective whips British politics as ever seen and will want to punish the lib dems. The Conservatives will end up with a free vote whether their leadership wants it or not. Failure of AV to pass will put pressure on Cleggs Leadership.
5) Public Sector job and wages cuts will effect the middle-classes. Expect lots of TV coverage of unemployed doctors, social workers, librarians and teaching staff.
6) As soon as anything goes wrong conservative press will round on the Lib Dems and lots of talking heads that the last coalition government was a war-time arrangement and had a pretty shoddy history before then.
7) after the honeymoon period expect Tory disaffection to grow and one or two Lib Dem defections.
The last and most important point is that an economic recovery based on small businesses and the service industry will probably not work. The reason China and India are on the economic rise and that France and Germany recovered from the recession quickly is because they have heavy protectionist industries with a lot of state funding. British Banks are currently doing OK because they are living on bail-outs. The markets will dip as political uncertainty and social unrest rise as a result of budget cuts, plus the money will run out. The basic problem is that the Free-market in the form that benefits British financial models doesn’t benefit countries that actually make things. Thus protectionism in various minor forms will come to rule the way countries do business.

67. Nick Cohen is a Tory

90, 60, and 42 day detention without charge
ID cards and forcing people to be on the database
‘encouragement’ of terrorism
extradition to the USA without the prerequisite of a prima facie case
fraud trials without juries
inquests without juries
secret inquests and changing inquests to inquiries

and they are just a few examples of what made it to the votes. There were some dreadful proposals coming from the Government – such as lowering the standard of proof in rape cases.

If you read my post I said that Labour was wrong but my point is that your lot would hve done the same or worst.
Only the li dems have been consistent about civil liberties, although will that change in the next 5 years after we have the next London bombing.
The Tories trampled civil liberties in the eighties. ALSO if I remember that in the seventies and eighties under both parties passed laws involving Northern Ireland were far more draconian.I can remember the farcical situation when adams had to use an actors voice. Yes, real freedom of speech.
Remember shoot to kill.
Also it was your press that put pressure on the idiots from New labour to go down those routes.
Very much like the increased prison population that grew under both Labour and Tory administrations which was due to media pressure.
This will not change in the next 5 years
Talking of that issue, I was vey impressed with the lib dems n the run up the election on issues like prison reform, the Tories want to just bang more people in the clink.
What are the lib dems going to about that problem

68. Nick Cohen is a Tory

“What really marks the difference between the liberal right and you lot is that what matters most to the right is the will and rights of the people, and that democracy is served. What matters to you is that you harness the state for the benefit of your ilk with no regard to anybody who thinks differently. This is not liberalism, this is out and out authoritarianism.”
Is that the same Tory Party tat sent advisors to Pinochets Chile and their only complaint ids that they couldn’t get rid of the lefties that quickly.
Didn’t Mrs T have lovely cups of T with Pinochet. I can’t remember Brown having coffee with Castro.
The idea that Tories like yourself rabid rodent are in it for the will of the people is enough to make me reach for the sick bag.

There is no such thing as the liberal left, left thinking can only be implemented by restricting the freedoms of the masses – cf labour 1997-2010. The Right dont throw these kinds of hissy fits when we dont get what we want, we compromise and determine why, if it is that the people didn’t want it then so be it, that is a higher principle.

Are you real, remember Tebbitts rant at Kate Adie. Don’t your read your press and hear your politician for hissy fits. Christ moron , get out a bit more.
Compromise. So this lady is not for turning was incorrect.

Something you should all remember is that 71% of the population voted to get labour out of power – that is a pretty strong mandate against whatever it is that labour stand for, statism maybe ?

I’ve said before that Libcon should support the liberal wing of the conservative party and help to push out the old right wingers, if you could look past your ‘tories HURRRRR’ attitude (as Nick clegg has done) you would probably find you have far more in common with liberal tories than main stream labour.
The crusty right wingers are the Tory party. For god sake man don’t you read the Daily Mail

Sure there is a lot we will never agree on but there is much that we do agree on so perhaps we can fight with each other once we have fought the battles against the people who we all disagree with.
What ?

There is also a worry about opposition here generally.
At least with a Labour government most of the media / blogosphere hated Labour
Now you have
1. All the newspapers, bar one in the country supporting a party in government.
2. BBC so far up the arse of the coalition
3. ITN / Sky have always been Tory
4. Channel 4 who are lauded over by Camerons mate Daniel Johnson
5. The blogosphere which was 70% tory but now with the libe dems make its about 80-85 % pro government.
Democracy is about opposition.

nciat,

If you read my post I said that Labour was wrong but my point is that your lot would hve done the same or worst.
Only the li dems have been consistent about civil liberties, although will that change in the next 5 years after we have the next London bombing.

If you read and comprehend my post you will understand that over the past 13 years there have been extraordinary infringements proposed and imposed by Labour and the Tories and LibDems have consistently voted against them. The evidence is there in Hansard (or use Public Whip, I am happy to provide the links).

If the Tories would have done “the same or worst” why is it that they consistently opposed those infringements? They are hardly populist positions to hold, after all.

70. Nick Cohen is a Tory

If the Tories would have done “the same or worst” why is it that they consistently opposed those infringements? They are hardly populist positions to hold, after all.

So no Tories agreed with the 42 day detention.
Anne Widdecombe for one
Personally I agree with you about Labour’s weakness in bowing to pressure from the right wing press, the spooks and the US republican adminstration.
My point is that you will carry out the same type of legislation like you did in the eighties.
Also I am pretty sure you would have carried out the same legislation, with the Labour hypocrites opposing it.
The difference is that I have opposed it as labout voter, but you would have backed the Tories if they would have carried out the legislation.
As I said only the lib dems have unblemished record on civil liberties, you certainly don’t have.
Remember the anti terrorist legislation in the eighties and the pathetic idea of stopping Sinn Fein members by concealing their voices. That was pretty sinister and very Orwellian.
.

Nick Cohen is a Tory,

If the Tories would have done “the same or worst” why is it that they consistently opposed those infringements? They are hardly populist positions to hold, after all.

So no Tories agreed with the 42 day detention.
Anne Widdecombe for one

Don’t put words in my mouth. I did not claim no Tories agreed with it. And yes, Ann Widdecombe did agree with it – she was however the only Tory MP to vote for it.

My point is that you will carry out the same type of legislation like you did in the eighties. Also I am pretty sure you would have carried out the same legislation, with the Labour hypocrites opposing it.

Who is “you”? I’m not an MP or a Tory.

The difference is that I have opposed it as labout voter, but you would have backed the Tories if they would have carried out the legislation.

No, I wouldn’t.

As I said only the lib dems have unblemished record on civil liberties, you certainly don’t have.

They have one blemish – their support for RIPA, if I recall correctly. But yes, they have been 99% excellent on civil liberties over the past 13 years, the Tories less excellent, and Labour evil.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Lauren B

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  2. Dave Forrest

    .@sunny_hundal gets it spot on: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/11/why-lefties-should-worry-about-the-con-dem-nation/

  3. Jose Aguiar

    RT @libcon: Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation http://bit.ly/cDHW1O

  4. David Clark

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  5. monkey Light

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  6. gregchivs

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  7. Kevin Ortiz

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  8. skingers

    Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation http://bit.ly/d0Qco1 REALIGNMENT TIME:) BYE, BYE MANDY et AL 🙂

  9. Liberal Conspiracy

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  10. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy. Liberal Conspiracy said: Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation http://bit.ly/9JfBU9 […]

  11. Sheryl Odlum

    RT @libcon: Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  12. sunny hundal

    I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  13. Adam Bright

    RT @libcon: Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-nation http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  14. noelito

    @libcon @pickledpolitics http://bit.ly/daplEW indeed sir…

  15. After the UK

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  16. Tom Griffin

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  17. ickledot

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  18. David O'Keefe

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  19. noelito

    @sunny_hundal http://bit.ly/daplEW indeed sir…

  20. Pamela Heywood

    Why Lefties should worry about the Con-Dem-Nation http://twurl.nl/4awt7p

  21. Noxi

    RT @sunny_hundal: I'm not sure lefties should cheer the 'Con-Dem-nation' as an opportunity. Dangerous times ahead http://bit.ly/9JfBU9

  22. Left Outside

    Oh, one last thing……

    …should I join the Labour Party? I’ve been officially none aligned as a blogger because nobody deserved my alignment. Last month I campaigned for my Local Liberal Democrat David Rendel, and despite the Lib-Con coalition I don’t regret…

  23. Michal Polák

    "…the political centre will shift right-wards, and a lot of Libdem voters will become less anti-Tory." http://bit.ly/ciOOyY Con/Dem Nation

  24. Milan

    RT @michalpolakTW: "…the political centre will shift right-wards, and a lot of Libdem voters will become less anti-Tory." http://bit.ly/ciOOyY Con/Dem Nation

  25. sunny hundal

    @dandelion101 really? then how about this? http://bit.ly/cDHW1O or this? http://bit.ly/962fN4





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