Monday 25 April 2011

Chemistry exploded

Since the beginning of the coalition we have heard reports of the "chemistry" between Nick Clegg and David Cameron and their harmonious working relationship. If the AV referendum achieves nothing else (and I have not lost hope and continue delivering the leaflets) it has exposed their relationship for what it is.

A complete page of the "No" leaflet is entirely devoted to Nick Clegg. To support the spurious argument that "AV leads to broken promises" we are told that Nick is unpopular because he broke his promises on four issues: job cuts, the VAT increase, tuition fees and public spending cuts.

The truth is that Clegg, to his shame and ours in my view, was the first to speak of "savage cuts" so the job cuts and public spending cuts are hardly a broken promise. He broke our promise not to increase VAT at the behest of a Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer who had implied a similar promise, and on tuition fees he reneged on his pledge (after having achieved some significant concessions) in order to go along with what the Tories wanted.

William Hague and others mouth the half-truth that since the "No" campaign is an independent organisation its leaflet is not the responsibility of the Conservative party. But we all know that the "No" campaign is over 90% funded by Tory donors and there is no doubt that Cameron could exercise a veto on any publicity material should he so wish.

So whatever the result of the referendum Nick Clegg should emerge from it as a wiser man. He should now know that whatever concessions to Liberal Democrat principles and policies he makes in an attempt to preserve the cosy relationship will be unscrupulously used to attack him and us when it suits the Tories' convenience. Hence we can in future expect a more robust promotion of our policies and a suitable distancing when the coalition's policies are the antithesis of ours.


  1. Q. Some MPs and peers are telling us that AV is fundamentally flawed because it destroys the principle of "one person one vote".

    So why is it being used by MPs and peers themselves?

    MPs for the election of Select Committee chairmen:

    Peers for the election of their Lord Speaker:

    Hereditary peers to elect a replacement for a deceased peer:

    A. Because they know that what they're telling us about AV being fundamentally flawed is not true.

  2. Exactly. The "Yes" campaign is sticking doggedly to its "Make your MP work harder and put an end to jobs for life" theme rather than expanding to tackle these hypocrisies. I presume they've tested this on focus groups or something similar and believe it is effective, but it means we are not getting the adult debate the issue deserves.