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June 25, 2010

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Alex

And as it happens, when the opportunity comes to cash out, the leadership of the various Liberal projects has always broken to the Tories, whatever the general sentiment among the people they recruited might be.

Well, except when Asquith put Labour in in 1924 and when Thorpe turned down Heath in 1974 and signed the lib-lab pact in 1977. But one in four is almost 25%.

Not that I'm defending the buggers. Note that they eventually kept all the Mandelson industrial investments with the sole exception of the two in Sheffield - presumably to make a monkey of Clegg and expedite the process of digestion.

jamie

I meant "cash out" in the sense of "end that particular liberal project" rather than support one side or other, but fair point.

Phil

I dealt with "don't call them Yellow Tories, it's nasty and tribal and not helpful!" a bit back. Paraphrasing slightly from that post, what good would it do to call Clegg a Tory traitor? Well, it might drive Lib Dem voters away from his party, which would weaken it; it might attract liberal Tories to his party, which would create conflict and hence would also weaken it; it might prompt Clegg to move to the Left to prove the label wrong, which wouldn’t weaken the party but would make it a less reliable government ally and hence make it less harmful; it might even prompt him to move so far Left that he ended up splitting the party, which would weaken it and make it less harmful. Really, it’s all good.

I think where Sunny goes wrong is that he assumes the situation we want to create involves the Lib Dems, engaging constructively and shifting the centre of political gravity and doing all those bold yet talky things they like doing. Whereas actually the point we want to arrive at is one where the Lib Dems are doing less harm, if possible by ceasing to keep the Tories in office. If the Lib Dems as a party get broken in the process, I'm afraid that's not our problem.

ejh

How would you break a party of chancers?

CharlieMcMenamin

No argument from me on how best best to treat the Lib-Dems, but your prognosis rather assumes that Labour sort of automatically becomes a default pole of political attraction for the non Tory vote again. I'm not sure that's automatically true even in England, and I'm fairly certain there's nothing automatic about it at all in in Scotland and Wales.


New Labour shows very little sign of actually learning from its own howling errors in govt and " adopt[ing] some of the policies that led a lot of left leaning people to find the Lib Dems attractive in the first place"

Alex

I've actually taken all reference to the Liberals off my CV.

twitter.com/matt_heath

Hezza ran as a National Liberal in Gower in 1959, but was only ever elected as a Tory. I looked it up. On the internet.

Chris Brooke

Another way of thinking about it is that whenever the Tories are on the up, they suck in the people just to their left: the Chamberlainites, then Lloyd George Liberals like Churchill, later Sir John Simon's crew, and so on. And the reason we haven't seen so much of it more recently is that for most of the postwar period there weren't enough Liberals to make it worth trying to suck them in; and when the centre was a bit bigger after 1981, OTOH this was because of people splitting off from Labour who weren't ready to be absorbed by the Tories just yet, and OTOH Mrs Thatcher found she could win elections by running to the right and ignoring the traditional centre-ground of British politics. But now we're back to politics as usual.

Phil

ejh - good question. But if the party as such is basically indestructible (and it's certainly survived a lot over the years), all the more reason not to go easy on them.

Cian

Not that I'm defending the buggers. Note that they eventually kept all the Mandelson industrial investments with the sole exception of the two in Sheffield - presumably to make a monkey of Clegg and expedite the process of digestion.

Presumably Clegg has been made an offer of a safe Tory seat if he can deliver a full term. This was merely showing him what would happen if he didn't deliver.

The only way I can make sense of this, given that the sums involved were trivial, is that part of the deal we didn't see was a safe Tory seat for Clegg if he delivered for the full term. And this was

Alex

Or, alternatively, it's tribalism. They just hate the idea of Sheffield. This may sound silly, but when you look at the budget, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that a major motivation is pure spite.

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