Lynne Featherstone

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green

my blog
Lynne's Parliament and Haringey Diary, established 2003

Dangerous liaisons

Off now to day of talks on what happens next. How best to deliver what is in the national interest together with changing politics for good!

Obviously, increasing my own majority here in Hornsey and Wood Green was a fantastic endorsement of my five years as the MP – but am so sad that because the elections were on the same day – we couldn’t take the council against the Labour block vote – yet.

If the elections had been on different days – I think we might well have won the Council.

Anyway – just leaving for all day talks with colleagues and Nick Clegg – which will be followed by a meeting of the Federal Executive.

Which of the dangerous liaisons or none is put into play is the fight today!

A huge thank you to the fantastic LibDem team and the hundreds of local people who helped us to our great result.

And to the people of Hornsey & Wood Green who warmed my heart with their support for me. I will continue to fight for local people. That is my mission.

Sat 8 May 2010
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Comments

  1. Well done, Lynne, will you get us a referendum on the continued membership of the EU though? Will you ask the people of Wood Green and Hornsey for a ballot to determine if the people you represent actually want one? Ie if there is a majority of us who do?

    Can you organise a ballot for the constituency so that you can accurately gauge our opinions?

    are you prepared to do so?

  2. Rob says:

    As a centre-left progressive, I would feel sick to think my vote for Lynne on Thursday could lead to a Conservative government. I understand Clegg and the LDs are in a tight spot here, but they risk losing the votes of people like me for many years to come. I would like to urge my newly-reelected representative to sieze the opportunity for electoral reform that is currently only being offered by Labour.

  3. stephen moss says:

    Fantastic news that you have been re-elected, but very disappointing to lose Evan Harris, and appalling to read the anti-Evan vitriol in the Telegraph, particularly coming from an Anglican priest. Someone within the LibDems needs to become the champion of libel reform, regardless of coalitions or electoral reform. The latter is more important than ever given the following statistic: Oxford’s combined vote: LD: 41087 Con: 33633 Lab: 27937. One Con MP, one Lab MP.

    Opportunities for electoral reform are extremely rare, but there may be one now. Go for it above all else.

  4. I am surprised that you say if the council election had been on a different day, LibDems might have taken the council. I’d have expected the general election would have increased the turnout for the council vote.

    Clearly, we couldn’t convince people who voted for you as their MP chose to vote Labour for their councillors. This is disappointing!

  5. Jimbo says:

    This is an historic opportunity to realign politics along a liberal-conservative axis. It is the chance to destroy the Labour Party as a party of government forever. If the price is real reform of the electoral system then that is a price well worth paying to free us from the economic destruction wrought time and time again, decade after decade, by a statist, big government Labour Party.

  6. JonR says:

    well done Lynne. please ask Nick not to touch the Tories with a ten-foot bargepole.

  7. AM says:

    Lynne,

    well done. Great to see that the Baby Peters still out there will have someone to robustly campaign on their behalf at the highest level. Tories or Labour? Much of a muchness I suppose.

  8. dennis says:

    I favour a Con- Lib coalition as it seems to reflect the will of the people. It would be excellent if you ended up as a minister!

  9. Well done for holding your seat so convincingly.

    However, my advice is to go with the Cameron deal, even if this doesn’t give you the immediate chance of PR. The Country needs Economic stability and a new approach. Siding with Labour would be seen as sleazy as potential political gain would be seen by the electorate as taking precedence over what the Country needs now-which is strong and stable leadership.

  10. Charlie W says:

    Congrats on holding your seat. Please can you push for some kind of electoral reform? The current system is a farce, we need PR instead of FPTP.

  11. Andrew says:

    Good luck Lynne, a really big day!

    A few thoughts on the dangerous liaisons….

    Above all else the UK needs a proper Government, with a workable majority – one with the ability to drive radical changes over the next couple of years. Short of another election (and no guarantee that would be any more decisive..) the only option is a LD-Tory tie up. No matter how much some of us might prefer a Labour agreement, the arithmetic just won’t allow it.

    My gut feel is that any form of “confidence and supply” agreement, with no place in Cabinet, would end up badly. All the risk of taint by association with unpopular decisions. But no actual power, or chance to lead. No say over the timing of the next election. And crucially no chance to show the public that coalitions can work. No referendum on PR will be won until people have a positive frame of reference for coalitions. More importantly, you, Nick, Vince could actually drive a Govt agenda on climate change, civil liberties, banks, fair tax.

    I loathe the Tories, always have and always will. But a coalition feels like the right thing for the country, and the right thing strategically for the party. Well, that’s my tuppence-worth. Good luck!

  12. giulio masetti says:

    A loose alliance with the Tory Party would probably be the most convenient political arrangement for the millions of British folk who voted against the despised and discredited Labour Party. Labour has ruled by spin, deceit and falsification and will never admit that it has wrecked the British economy. In the process, Labour has shown only contempt for British values and way of life. An arrangement must be found in order to sideline the Labour party for good. May the Labour party, the party of cant, doublespeak and betrayal fade into oblivion.

  13. I agree that whilst Lib Dems ideal partner, if we need one, would be Labour, but looking at the numbers, that would still only make an unstable alliance. I am also suspicious that Labour suddenly put Electoral Reform on the table. In the last Lib-Lab pact I think we gained nothing.
    So if we are mature, and truly want the nation’s good, maybe a deal to offer the Tory’s the numbers they need on policies that Lib Dems can agree with, and expect their support too. At least we should agree some kind of alliance to get the financial stability that we need for at least a year.

  14. Tim says:

    Patrick Hadfield, obviously Hornsey and Wood Greenisn’t the only constituency in the area of Haringey Council.

  15. Phil Napleton says:

    For the libdems to even consider an alliance, formal or otherwise with the Tories would be a huge betrayal of the manifesto and of the mandate that Lynne therefore has as our MP.

    Labour policies are infinitely closer to those of the Libdems and a change to the electoral system is on the table. Taking the Tory coin of a few cabinet seats and an investigation into electoral reform would be a betrayal of values and make the electorate seriously question the credibility of the Libdems in the next general election (which will obviously be sooner rather than later).

  16. BenC says:

    Congratulations Lynne.

    I am very confused by what you mean by being unable to take the council because of a Labour ‘block vote’? A block vote is when individual votes are pooled, contrary votes are discounted and a single vote is cast on behalf of all voters. The best example of this is perhaps the US presidential elections, where the states – after holding their own elections – cast a single vote for the favoured candidate.

    I don’t see the connection between this block vote system and the council elections where individuals casted their votes and these were counted individually.

    Could you explain what you mean please?

  17. The Conservatives would be mad to enter a coilition with the Lib Dems. The would be better advised to step aside, let Gordon Brown continue on as Prime Minister and let the Lib Dems decide if they are willing to work with them ‘for the good of the country’.

    After all the chances are that voting reform won’t happen, especially when the Labour party wake up to the fact that any change will mean they are unlikely ever to form a government again. And that the current offers made by Gordon Brown are purely due to his lust for power.

  18. John says:

    Please try and make sure PR is top priority – 93 seats short given you had 23% of the vote – Lib Dems 120,000 votes required per seat – Conservatives 35,000 Labour 33,000 Northern Ireland 29,000 votes..

  19. Adey says:

    No deal with Tories. That would be a complete betrayal of the thousands of left-leaning liberals in the constituency who have voted for you. Four times more Labour supporters than Tories in your constituency – don’t let us down…

  20. Sue Davis says:

    Hi Lynne,

    Just wrote an email to you but will send this comment as well. An alliance with the Tories? Really unbelievable. Let them create a minority govt. with us supporting them on the grounds we get proportional rep. In response to another comment – Labour is hated because of Blair and Iraq and the loss of our civil Liberties in particular. But for those who don’t remember Thatcher, talk to those of us who do. Tories don’t change. Any party that has a 1922 group is a party to stay away from.

    Congratulations to you.

  21. Hadley Stirrup says:

    I respect you as a principled and hard working MP with centre-left values similar to my own, and voted for you on Thursday, the first time I have ever voted other than Labour (I’m 42). For once I was voting as much for the candidate as the party.

    While I understand that natural justice as well as Mr. Clegg’s pre-election promises demand the Liberals talk to the Conservatives first about forming a government, I find it hard to believe that the Tories are going to commit to any proportional system,which must be a central demand. They have never indicated any interest in it before, and what’s in it for them? It would deprive them of the complete power they seek… forever. So then Clegg CAN justify speaking with the rainbow alliance crowd (Labour, SNP etc) who might commit to real reform. Democracy requires that Brown himself can’t now stay on as PM, so Labour could be told by the other parties that they need to replace him immediately if they want to remain in Government. I haven’t checked the maths but I guess such a government would in fact represent more people than a Con-Lib coalition. Reform the system and have another election under PR as soon as boundaries are redrawn, with parties being explicit about possible coalitions beforehand.

    Go into government “in the national interest” with the Tories and you might end up badly damaged, tainted as the sell-out party who possibly helped solve the deficit crisis but severely damaged the economy and society in other ways. A dangerous liason indeed. What interesting times- good luck!

  22. Mark says:

    This was my first time voting for LibDems as I thought that we could have some real change, I cant actually believe that the party is going to support the conservatives and help them create a government.
    I’ll never vote for a Libdem candidate again

  23. Harriet Harms Man says:

    I despise both Labour and the Conservatives, but it’s the former who’ve messed up this country over the last 13 years.

    Really don’t see what left or right wing is so important. decent is the key, and left/right definitions don’t really seem to be as relevant these days as in the past and are far too simplistic.

  24. jason says:

    Labour are only offering AVS. Under this election Labour would have gotten 25 more seats under AVS and the lib dem 9 more seats.

    This isn’t proportional at all. AVS only gives Labour a better chance to form a majority in the future.

    Labour will never give up the chance to form a majority government. 90 percent of their mp’s are against PR.

    This idea that labour is for PR is not right. They are only for electoral reform to keep them in power for a fifth term. They like AVS because it helps Labour get 25 more seats and still keeps the same gerrymandered system with no proportional representation.

    Labour is about to argue that mckinnon should be sent back to the u.s At least lib dems and tories agreed to change the extradition law.

  25. Lynne, well done! In the meantime, I wrote the following on Libdem ACT:
    I’ve been trying to think of the “what-if”‘s overnight.
    I do not believe the tories will be sincere in ANY PR promises, and I bet any agreement will come with an agenda to stitch up the Libdems. If they did reneage and we forced a vote of confidence, they are in a better place to benefit from a subsequent election than we are. People are already fed up just after the last election and won’t want another in the near future.
    But Brown is different – he is desparate enough that it should not be difficult to push PR to a definite bill early in the new parliament. Worth a go, I think.
    DONT GET INTO BED WITH THE TORIES!!!.

  26. mary says:

    Lynne
    If the LibDems support the Tories now, without any credible promises on electoral reform, Cameron will call an election in a few months time and you will lose your seat. Don’t do it!

  27. Kate says:

    It will be very disappointing if Nick doesn’t get a cast iron guarantee of electoral reform, who ever he “gets into bed with”.

  28. Charles Wright says:

    I was extremely disappointed with your blog comment here. Do you have a starting point for these discussions, or is it whatever Clegg says? Where do you stand, given the arithmetic in Hornsey and Wood Green which suggests very strongly that this electorate, the only group of people who have ever given you a mandate, do not want a Tory administration? What do you say about the fact that your party’s overall result – down on last time – hardly suggests an overwhelming endorsement for your “politics of change”, whatever that means? Was an espousal of voting reform a deciding factor in your victory in HWG? I hardly think so.

    And what’s your attitude to these secret meetings, Clegg’s “aides” lying to the press that he’d gone home rather than to meet Cameron, Lord Razall, never elected by anyone except a ward electorate in Richmond, telling us what’s happening? Not exactly the “politics of change”; not exactly transparent.Any chance of a report back to those who elected you, or an attempt to find out what we think?
    On another point, your talk above about the council elections and the Labour “block vote” is patently absurd. You might as well talk about the Lib Dem “block vote” in Muswell Hill and Highgate. Your party lost council seats it had won previously, and failed to gain its target seats, in an extremely open contest with a huge amount of voter contact on the part of all parties, which ended with your people not only failing to make advances, but actually falling back on your position last time. Open contempt for people who disagree with you – they must have been part of a “block” Labour vote – is an unpleasant characteristic which doesn’t fit well with a commitment to serve all the people of the constituency. Let’s hope it doesn’t go along with backing a backroom deal delivering a Tory government to a constituency where more than 85% of people did not vote Conservative, and where certainly I think a majority did not vote for you thinking their vote would help usher in the Tories. I may be wrong; perhaps you could enlighten us.

  29. N8 resident says:

    Dear Lynne,

    Don’t be lured by Conservatives with sweets.

    If your party walks off with the Tories it will be decimated in future elections.

    No one forgets a Quisling.

  30. Ben M says:

    First of all Lynne, congratulations on your very well deserved victory in the Hornsey & Wood Green constituency, and in achieving an increase in the Lib Dems’ share of the vote here. Interestingly, this serves to highlight just about the only decent argument in favour of “First Past The Post”, namely the nexus it creates between an MP and the electors he or she is mandated to represent in Parliament. But this cannot disguise the profoundly undemocratic nature of an electoral system under which millions are effectively disenfranchised and it takes nearly four times as many votes to elect a Lib Dem MP as a Tory or Labour one.

    Looking at the comments posted on this Blog, it seems that opinions are fairly evenly divided on the merits of a deal with the Tories. Whilst support for some sort of Cameron / Clegg axis might seem surprising, given the progressive instincts of most Lib Dem supporters, perhaps it reflects disenchantment with the reactionary nature of many of New Labour’s policies, especially with regard to the erosion of our civil liberties during the last thirteen years. But can we expect better from Team Cameron? Do leopards really change their spots so readily? Yes, Clegg is right to pursue the national interest ahead of party political advantage. But surely the national interest is best served by a fairer voting system, and the Tories will NEVER deliver on this. The offer of a cross party committee of inquiry into the electoral system is just a ruse, designed to buy time before Cameron seeks to consolidate his position at a second General Election in a few months’ time. However unappealing, a coalition with Labour represents a once in a generation opportunity to achieve the profound political reform of which Nick Clegg spoke on Saturday. If he squanders it, he will not be forgiven for a long time.

  31. Having seen this thread develop I can say that the government got back in this time at the elections. The elections were rigged, which is why not everyone who wanted to vote got to vote.
    The hung parliament is so that Cameron a turncoat who promised a referendum cannot hold a referendum before the re ratification of the Lisbon treaty because as with all hurried things, it turns out not to be legal unless it is re ratified by all 27 this summer.

    Even though he has got a mandate from the public bigger than that of Margaret Thatcher and put 100 more MPs in to parliament he has still not won

    There have been postal vote irregularities and the vote in Hornsey and Wood Green took until 7.30 am where as before it usually is decided at the stroke of 2 am and the turnout here was actually a little less than normal.

    To my immediate @N8resident No fear of Clegg walking off with the Tories

    He is the Kingmaker but I can tell you that if he does a vast proportion of LibDems will cross the floor and join Labour.

    Gordon Brown will become the caretaker prime minister until after the Lisbon treaty is ratified and we will have an October election with voting reform to have another Labour government.

    However he will be replaced and then he will be made a Knight of the Garter.

    Sir Gordon Brown KCOG please arise.

    You heard it from my lips first.

    David Cameron’s child will be autistic or similarly retarded again and then he will face a leadership challenge from his chum Georgy porgy Osborne because Osborne has already been warned to tow the line

    Adam Osborne has been seen to by a very Labour institution.

    David Cameron will not be leader by the next General Election

    If any of this turns out not to be true you can all come round and have a meal at my house. If it turns out to be true then you need to invite me round.

  32. Michael says:

    Lynne,

    Congratulations.

    I was at the St. James hustings and was really impressed by the quality of the four main candidates. Never seen a better set of human beings standing. I am sure many constituencies would feel lucky to have one such. Seems a loss to parliament that we had to deny three of you the opportunity, but that’s fptp.

    I am concerned about your leader’s conversations with Cameron though. Surely you are aware that much of your party’s vote is tactical and anti-Conservative. I would find it difficult to support you again if you were to do this deal.

    Michael

  33. NickT says:

    Well done Lynne,

    You must fight against the conservative elements of the Lib Dems, the orange book crew, the senior MPs and work to reject a Tory-Lib Dem coalition. It really makes no sense to say that a Lib-Lab pact is off the books – together you would have a 53% vote, much higher than any single majority since WW2.

    Bring on the lib-lab coalition!

  34. Jay says:

    Do you people honestly think that supporting Labour into a Minority gov. will do the Lib Dem favours in the future? In any constituency where there is a battle between Tory’s and Lib Dem’s will be lost in next election to the Tory’s. Lib Dem’s will lose a lot of credibility for propping up a weak labour gov. that is hated and despised. When we dip back into recession not least because of the greece crisis spreading across the world (which if we had lib dem’s uk would be in the euro along with it) Labour Lib Dem would be involved in it. You have two parties which each are despised by the electorate Lib Dem’s have to choose you’re going to anger them.

    And i believe that the Lib Dem’s should and could have campaigned more effectively just because you were working for two elections doesn’t mean you had to put all your resources on your vote Lynne.

  35. Ben M says:

    Jay, I’m struggling to understand the point you are making here. Are you suggesting that the Lib Dems should form a coalition with the Tories, rather than with the “hated and despised” Labour Party? If so, on what basis do you consider that this is more likely to deliver on progressive reform – to the voting system and more generally?

  36. Neil Williams says:

    Patrick – the Lib Dem local election candidates in Hornsey & Wood Green actually polled slightly higher than Lynne on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Labour dominance in Tottenham, unfortunately.

  37. David Barker says:

    Lynne

    I voted for you last Thursday, and at the last election, and have voted Lib Dem at all local elections in the interim.

    I now read with disgust that talks with the conservatives are progressing positively. In so far as ideology still exists in our politics, the Lib Dems are supposed to be ideologically opposed to the type of policies the conservatives want to implement.

    Put simply, if your party do this deal, I will never vote Lib Deb again.

    David

  38. ogstopper says:

    Rohen Kapur said at 11.11 a.m.

    “David Cameron’s child will be autistic or similarly retarded again and then he will face a leadership challenge from his chum Georgy porgy Osborne because Osborne has already been warned to tow the line”

    You’re not very nice, are you?

  39. george morris says:

    Lynne – I would be very reluctant to support the Liberal Democrats if they compromise too many of their ideals to gain power and influence through a Con/Lib coalition.

    I vote Lib Dems mainly due to their support for electoral reform. I noticed today (Sunday 9th) that Clegg has already swapped the phrase ‘electoral reform’ for ‘political reform’ – whatever that means.

  40. Jon says:

    I’m a bit confused by what people thought they were voting for when they voted Lib Dem. A hung parliament was always odds on going into this election, and a vote for Lynne was never going to be a vote for someone from the largest party. So what do people who are so against a Lib-Con coalition want? The Lib Dems to prop up a Labour government – one that quite clearly lost its mandate? Do people really think that if there is a deal done between the Lib Dems and the Tories then Lib Dem MP will support legislation that is obviously against the Lib Dem philosopy?

    As far as I can see, the bottom line is that a government needs to be formed, even if it is just merely on the basis that the Lib Dems say that they will support a Conservative minority government in the case of a vote of no confidence.

  41. robin h says:

    Sorry Lynne, but I find your comment about the local elections deeply offensive.

    What you mean is that a high voter turn-out across the borough denied your party a victory locally. Would you really have preferred a turn-out of c30% (as local elections normally have) if that meant you’d have won?

    Who exactly are the voters you would have preferred stayed at home?

  42. Charles Wright says:

    Neil talking about the council elections in terms of Hornsey and Wood Green Libs versus Tottenham Labour is surely not quite right. It’s not a question of the Lib Dems slowly eroding a monolithic vote (yet again rather typically patronising to people who voted anything other than Lib Dem). The reality is that the Lib Dem block vote held up in Highgate, Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Stroud Green; Labour held the Tottenham seats, and the Lib Dems lost seats they held in the Wood Green area.

    2006 council results: Labour 30; Lib Dem 27;
    2010 results: Labour 34; Lib Dem 23.

    I agree there seems to be some confusion among Lib Dem voters, particularly that the Lib Dems are generally progressive, centre left etc (may have been the case some time ago, but certainly not under Clegg – is this why Lynne didn’t back him for the leadership of the party?), or that a vote for the Lib Dems in terms of the national picture was anything other than a minority option. Some of this confusion was fostered by Lynne’s ‘vote Lib Dem get Lib Dem’ campaigning, but ‘vote Clegg get Cameron’ seems nearer the mark.

    My guess in Hornsey and Wood Green is probably that about a third of Lynne’s vote is bona fide Lib Dem, a third or more is Tory voting tactically to keep Labour out, and a third or so is ex-Labour that has stuck with her but probably wouldn’t ever vote Tory. So it’s a coalition anyway, probably with something of a Tory leaning in reality, and suggesting it’s some sort of betrayal for Lynne to be in talks with the Tories may be naive, although understandable given the nature of the Lib Dem campaign. We have to have a government, and a deal of some kind is the first option.

    Where I would like to see some of the much vaunted new politics is in some openness and transparency from our MP about what the issues are on the table, where she stands, what her bottom lines are etc, rather than all this happening behind closed doors.

  43. The basic deal is this.

    The Lib Dems have already declared that the Barnett Formula is inequitable and should be abolished. Scots free free water, are going to get free prescriptions – to match the free prescriptions in Wales and N Ireland – they all get more goverment spending than England. And the deal offered by the so called progressive alliance is going to make the inequality even worse.

    I know you have campaigned on the subject of Baby Peter and the simple fact is that if the levels of spending applied in London that apply in Scotland then the chances are the social services, police, health services would not be so under staffed that the tragedy would have gone unnoticed.

    The idea that election reform is the price worth paying for the death of baby Peter is simply disgusting.

    It’s time for the Lib Dems to realise they are a political party with a chance to really reform politics so that it is grown up. And not a partisan game for over grown students, based on who can defraud the system by registering the most postal votes at their activists address.

    The idea that the Lib Dems should prop up a Labour party that has presided over the most corrupt administration in living history because a bunch of morons have swallowed a Ben Elton routine about how bad the Tories are is simply abhorant and to their eternal shame.

    Not to mention that such an alliance would rely on MPs who would be voting on matters that do not affect their constituents because of devolution.

  44. Patrick says:

    Well done on your re-election
    The comments so far seem fairly split. In our household you gained two Labour voters in the last election based on an anti-war vote, This was maintained in this election – largely because Gordon Brown remained unapologetic re this misadventure (whereas in other respects he and his policies are broadly correct)
    We have long supported a more proportional form of representation in Westminster and have always been prepared to vote “tactically” in an attempt to maintain a broad centrist/left of centre front against Conservativism.
    We cannot understand why Nick Clegg should believe anything that the Conservatives say. If you do decide to sup with the devil, then in the (presumably imminent) re-run of the election, you will find that voters such as us will revert back to our roots

  45. Andrew Harris says:

    The country stands at a historic crossroads, and the Liberal Democrat leader is holding the map. If he decides to move off with the Tories, without a tangible and significant concession on electoral reform, many if not most, of the Lib Dem rank and file, will rightly conclude that he has the map upside down. The prize of a proportional voting system which has ramifications, not just for our party but for almost every aspect of British society for generations to come, is simply so immense, that this one-off opportunity to grasp it has to be taken at virtually ANY cost. If Cameron won’t offer it, and even if he did, he couldn’t bring his hang em flog em, old model army of old buffers from the shires along behind him, then negotiations should be abandoned immediately before any more precious time is wasted.

    A coalition of progressive forces rightly encompassing the crucial support of the Scottish Nationalists from a part of the U.K. which would have no connection whatsoever with a Tory led administration and their one MP north of the border is more than acheivable, and I for one would wish Clegg would begin work on it in earnest and take this historic step that may never be offered again in our lifetime.

  46. Thanks for those who tried to answer my questions! Not sure I fully understand it, though…

  47. Robert Bain says:

    Well done on your re-election Lynne. If you’re scratching your head for stuff the Lib Dems and Conservatives have in common, you’ve both pledged support for the resettlement of the Chagos islanders. So if you must make a deal with them, do make sure the Chagos issue is addressed.

    http://bit.ly/ci6ugv

  48. Michael says:

    Charles Wright and transfattyacid (are you a Lamb fan?) seem to think that to support the Lib Dems and not this sell-out to the Tories is “confused” or shameful. I cannot agree. Look at the Tory councils in London if you want to see what is in store for the country. Wholesale closure and sell-off of homeless shelters. Privatising public parkland and closing it the public. Selling off council housing to developers without any affordable options or alternatives for residents. Any government will need to make cuts. We should be forming a centre left alliance that can make those cuts fairly and in the long-term structural interest of the country as a whole rather than in favour of the wealthiest in the short term. The conservatives see this kind of behaviour as a matter of principle and are blind to the damage that it causes to us all including themselves.

    I think the issue here is this. The wealth in this country is spread unevenly. This in itself is not a problem and much of the wealth is controlled by those who bring in the money which is how it should be. Loony lefties we are not. We don’t want to tie the economy’s hands behind it’s back with Labour command and control. However, the issue is that those who have this wealth are tempted to think that they can choose not to bring everyone along with them and this is short-sighted and will create significant problems in the future. We citizens are much more connected than that and unless we take responsibility for others as well as ourselves then we could create problems in our society that will not be solved for generations. It is this synergy between aggressive wealth creation and looking after the social fabric for the long term that can only be represented by the Lib Dems and is now more important than ever. Lend your power to the current crop of conservatives and the social cohesion will be lost for good. In a coalition with Labour the Lib Dems will have real clout to get that balance right. Alternatively, oppose a Conservative minority effectively. Either way would provide a better opportunity to rebuild both economy and society together.

    This is not an equi-distant sitting-on-the-fence compromise but is a vision of a holistic recovery, if you will. This election was notable for its lack of vision, of hope. Politics is not just about choosing the best managers but about implementing policy that inspires. Again, here, the Lib Dems are ahead but will be cutting their own hands off if they take a tory whip.

    Michael

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