Dead Men Left

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Vote Lib Dem - get New Labour

I've jumped up and down and shouted about this letter from Charles Kennedy before.

Labour would find the Liberal Democrats enthusiastic participants in any discussion about reforming our unfair voting system. That debate could begin now and we would support it.

But I will repeat, yet again, for the benefit of your correspondent (Letters, January 24) that if there is a hung parliament after the next election - an unusual outcome - it would mean that Labour had squandered a three-figure majority. That would represent a huge loss of confidence in a Blair administration. In such circumstances, we in the Liberal Democrats would let ourselves down if we were to chase deals for partisan advantage.

As for the politics of Leeds city council (also Letters, January 24), since the Lib Dems took over six months ago, we have achieved a good Ofsted report (which follows "intervention" after Labour's poor rating) and we have already increased the number of police support officers.

That's immediate progress in education and fighting crime. It just shows the improvements you get with the Liberal Democrats in power.
Charles Kennedy
Leader, Liberal Democrats

Kennedy rules out a coalition with Labour, but says nothing about the Tories - even citing a Tory-Lib Dem council, Leeds, as an example to be followed. The horrifying prospect of the Lib Dems propping up a Tory government, in exchange for a few PR morsels, is certainly visible.

More likely, I suppose, is that the introduction of proportional representation would be such a manifestly non-partisan benefit to the whole community (etc) that a few deals with the Labour Party, suitably de-Blaired, could be chased. Opposition to ID cards, attacks on civil liberties and other "fundamental issues" could be quietly slid to one side, just as it has been in Scotland. The Lib Dems could then do what they do best - pull spineless Labour administrations still further to the right. Ban on strikes, anyone?