I have to admit I was a Liberal once. It was at the time when my pet pony Bimbo had died and I wanted to get back at the world without damaging the essentially benevolent nature of international capitalism. And, of course, to annoy my Labour voting parents. It was a time when you knew the Liberals wouldn’t get anywhere and nobody, including yourself, actually wanted them to. How times have changed. These days the Libdems actively try to get into government, even though nobody wants them to. And will do anything to achieve those ends whether its trying to convince people that Labour can’t win in areas where they clearly can and are best placed to, or actively getting into bed with the dastardly but oh-we -love-them-really Tories and forming coalitions where they sell out almost all of the policies they got elected on in the first place. But the history is out there for us to learn from….but will we?
It must have been a surprise to absolutely no one when in 2010 power broker and now Facebook PR man Nick ‘I agree with Nick’ Clegg had that king maker choice of who to put in government with his votes. The reforming Labour government of Gordon Brown, pulling the UK back from the recession caused by the bankers who he was gradually nationalising, or the leap in the dark shiny faced Eton plum duff David Cameron. What could go wrong? So he chose fellow public schoolboy Cameron and the rest..including the Lib Dems, is history.
The Lib Dems are responsible for Austerity
During the Tory Lib Dem coalition the Tories brought in a vicious austerity, which current LibDem leader Jo Swinson voted for more times than many Tory backbenchers- cutting police officers, the NHS, school budgets, local council support grants. And all for what? The Lib Dems surrendered their promise to abolish tuition fees and instead tripled them and in return got the opportunity to have a referendum on PR – which they lost. But at least they were in government…..
Now, when I was a liberal they had a bright and exciting leader who we could all trust. Just so long as he didn’t get into government. And, of course, they had a popular Chief Whip who would ensure no hanky panky went on that would besmirch their otherwise respectable image. Today Jeremy Thorpe and Cyril Smith are not looked on terribly favourably. If you google them today allegations that one paid a hitman to shoot his gay lover and the other was involved in child paedophile rings cloud what would undoubtedly have been glittering careers in government. Which they would never of course have had anyway.
The SDP-LIBs kept Thatcher in during the 1980’s
In the 1980s the Liberals became the Lib Dems in a clamour to get into government on the coat tails of the new SDP -the social democrat party that had broken away from Labour because they were ‘getting a bit socialist’. It was at this time that their leader David Steel declared ‘go back to your constituencies and prepare for government’ – but, when delivered from the top pocket of the spitting image puppet of SDP leader David Owen, he had to admit himself that of the 2 Davids he was the one no one could remember the first name of.
And it was during this time that another LibDem phenomenon came into our radar. The Ashdown Delusion. Former action man war hero who had very likely garrotted communists in the Indonesian civil war (if he’d been doing his job properly) Paddy (he was irish) Ashdown had a great new tactic up his sleeve along with his piano wire, masking tape and stun grenades, and that was to make sure liberals were seen as second best everywhere.
In-Action Man steps In
The Ashdown Factor -very similar to the Krypton Factor, but without the cleverness, started off right here in Somerset when he convinced Labour voters that they couldn’t win in his chosen Yeovil constituency so they all ought to vote Libdem instead. The only problem for traditional liberals who thought ‘government’ was just a pretend goal, was it worked and he got elected.
You see in Yeovil Labour usually came second since 1945 when they lost by just 174 votes to the Tories. This continued until by the mid 1970s when a Liberal revival brought the yellow peril to a closer 3rd place. Enter Ashdown and his ‘better vote for us next time’ catch phrase resulted in him coming 2nd in 1979- when probably a Labour vote in places like Yeovil could have stopped Thatcherism. Then in 1983 the SDP entered the scene and it was sun up for Ashdown as 90% of Labour voters fell for their line and switched, thus voting him..and 10 more years of Thatcher, in.
There’s a thin lie between love and hate
How do the Libdems manage to hoodwink the people so well? And especially in areas like the South West. When does truth distortion became outright lying?
Well, spinning the figures is something they’re quite good at. Well, in fact they’re not even good at it, but they do it anyway and just hope people believe them and the ones that fall for it have only themselves to blame.
During all those years of austerity after 2010, which were made possible by the strong LibDem presence in Parliament –4 out of the 5 Somerset seats were LibDem. Voters in Taunton, Yeovil, Wells and Somerton/Frome all voted for their own oppression by bedroom tax, increased tuition fees, reduced services and loss of police cover. In 2015 they were out. All of them. Every single Somerset Lib Dem MP was gone. People finally realised what voting Lib Dem actually meant. After all those years of neither us nor them expecting to get anywhere near government, now they’d actually done it what was the result? Putting the Tories back in ,breaking their own promises and getting shafted for it.
Lib Dem Bar Charts..READ THE SMALL PRINT
And so here we are in 2019 and another election. The Lib Dems obviously have a difficult task to convince people that they should vote for them because, well, the people now know what they’re really like.
And so they’re back to their old tricks.
In North East Somerset the lib Dems are already a laughing stock with their bar charts showing them in second place-with Con on 38% Lib Dem on 32% and Labour trailing on 8%….but hang about….check the small print..AH! This is a chart they’d created asking “If only Tory and Lib Dem were standing who would you vote for?” (still a good showing from Labour!). In fact Labour were a strong 2nd in the 2017 election and held the seat only a few years back. Clearly front runners for challenging the Tory Mp. Who….is Jacob Rees-Mogg (a good question in itself) (along with ‘What’ and ‘Why?!)
Here in Bridgwater & West Somerset they are very much sitting on the bench watching the big boys get on with the game….but , not if you believe their bar charts……
In 1996 the Lib Dems had 12 councillors on Sedgemoor District. In 1999 that was reduced to 1.
In 2015 they came 4th in the general election with just 6,000 votes and 3rd in 2017 with a similar number of votes.
In 2017 Labour came a clear and strong 2nd with nearly 17,000 votes.
Yet what do we see on the yellow pages? Well, obviously their printer has some default setting to churn out the same old lines.“the only way to stop the conservatives is to back the Liberal Democrats…” Accompanied by a graph which shows THEM in second place. Clearly not true as the last general election had Labour in 2nd place. So you have to read the small print….’based on local election results 2019’.….ah, so this refers to the accumulated lib dem figures in the council wards across the constituency including the 10 where Labour didn’t even stand. Sadly for the lib dems the result across the board was Con 16 Lab 11 Ind 7 and Libdems..a poor 4th..on 5. More ‘electrickery’ by the yellow team.
And , with their PR gun pointed directly at their own foot they even add…
“Public spending has been cut back since 2008. This has had a huge impact on health,education, social care, policing, emergency services and public transport.” THEY VOTED IT THROUGH!!!
Brexit is the gun pointed at Remainers Feet…Will you pull the trigger??
In 2010 the LibDems tapped into disillusion amongst Labour voters who were unhappy with the Blair years but who clearly didn’t want the Tories. Nick Clegg offered a third choice. The Lib Dem vote went up, that held the Labour vote down. But the result was that the Lib Dems in fact lost seats.But so did Labour. As a result the Libs marginally held the balance of power..and chose the Tories.
This is dangerously similar to what could happen at this election. Except this time round the Lib Dems have latched onto ‘Brexit’ as their one trick. Not only have they made ‘remainer’ deals with the Greens and Plaid Cymru -which have totally suckered the Greens, they are now positioning themselves to be ‘the only vote to stop Brexit’ . But this is another trick. Another self-serving Lib Dem trick. The Libdems can’t form a government. A rise in their vote will be at the expense of Labour and history shows that they will nevertheless not gain a sizeable number of seats themselves and the only result will be the Tories staying in power because of that.
And IF they do hold the balance of power what does history tell us about ‘what will the Lib Dems do next’?????? They’re no longer the comedy party of inept assassins and harmless protest votes, they’re dangerous little monkeys who, if you vote for them, can trick you into letting the Tories back in.
And that’s bad.