Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Problem with Faustian Pacts.............

...........is that they have a habit of coming back to bite you in the bottom! The car crash that is happening before our eyes is exactly what happens when you dispense with integrity for the sake of expediency. And please less of the "putting the country first" - actually - that is why we are Lib Dems isn't it? That is why we have Lib Dem policies surely? If we thought Tory or Labour policies were better for the country we'd adopt them. Please, give me a break........or do I mean brake? Mind you, it's maybe too late for the brake - it's been snowing and we'll only go into a worse skid.

So.......now let's all abstain why don't we? It's a noble plan for the sake of party unity........if this was just about party unity. But it's not. It's about party credibility. It's about whether we will have a truly liberal alternative at the next election. It's about whether we are true to the fourth pledge of our manifesto - to "clean up politics". No amount of Febreze like spin is going to disguise the stench that is duplicity. And make no mistake, what is going on is truly duplicitous. We know that from the honest reflections of David Laws. The right in our party may not get their way on the conference floor, but they sure as hell have through the coalition! As Steve Richards in the Indy today so perceptively pointed out "An unexpectedly clear picture emerges from Laws's account. They wanted the outcome they got. They willed it. At the top they are now happy with the policies they are pursuing. But in working towards such an outcome they have ended up implementing some major policies that are so far removed from their pre-election pledges that they are heading towards the cliff's edge. They hurtle towards a precipice because of the broader context. Clegg made "trust" the key issue at the last election, especially in the first televised debate. If Clegg and Laws had been less ready to form a coalition with the Conservatives, they might have given some more thought to the deadly consequences for their reputation". A fair deal by cleaning up politics.

The fact is, that the Orange Bookers NEVER wanted our policy on tuition fees, just look at the battle we had to keep it! And so now we see the absurd spectacle of Vince (who deserves better than this) having to hint that he may abstain in order to keep the party together. NO Vince - abstaining should be the ONLY option if you are not going to keep your pledge. After all, a couple of thousand party members voted for you to abstain by backing the Coalition Agreement. And this because the amendments to hold MPs to the pledge to vote against were blocked. What's that about tangled webs and deception?

I am frankly ashamed of what is happening at the moment. OK, I never wanted this, but I would have thought someone may have had the gumption to see this coming. I'm sorry I didn't, but I was so fixated on the fact that I didn't want the Coalition Agreement to start with, I never did the forensic analysis of it that it deserved - I opposed the lot of it, why bother?

Our manifesto was clear and fully costed, don't you remember the recognition of that in the press? No bold uncosted promises, no pipe-dreams - all the figures there in technicolour. I have gone back to Nick's speech at the manifesto launch and I will leave it with you - my emphasis (my comments in brackets).

"A fair deal by cleaning up politics.

We will break up, once and for all, the rotten political system dominated by the two old parties and put power into people’s hands. (yes by rendering impotent the third party!)

You will have the right to sack your MP if they are proved corrupt.
You will have as much influence as everyone else over our government because we will stamp out big donations, clean up lobbying and change the voting system so that every voter’s choice matters.

And you will once again be able to look at our Parliament with pride, not contempt, because we will make sure every MP who avoided capital gains tax or flipped their home for personal gain is brought to book.

These are four steps to a fairer Britain.

They are promises you can trust. (so what part of trust don't I understand?)

Together they will change our country for good.
If we do things differently, for once.
If we learn from the mistakes of the past and try something new…
We can turn anger into hope.
Frustration into ambition.
Recession into opportunity for everyone.
There is one other major innovation in this manifesto.
There isn’t a line or policy in this book that will cost money that we haven’t accounted for with savings elsewhere.
We have scrutinised public spending line by line, and found the savings we need to pay for all of our priorities as Vince explained.

1 comment:

Joe Otten said...

Many thought we could never afford our policy on tuition fees - at least that it would cost a great many cuts in other areas.

Which means that realistically no deal with another party would achieve a total debasement of the spending review for the benefit of a few middle class students who will be able to afford their contribution. (Those who won't be able to afford it won't have to pay.)

Does this make and deal "Faustian"? Maybe. In which case we were wrong all along about a more plural kind of politics, and we should change our policy to support for FPTP, and endeavour to always force a fresh election if there is a hung parliament until we are squeezed out.