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There were alternatives to this full-blown coalition of convenience with the Tories.
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Tags: Hung Parliament
I sympathize with Mrs. Nobody, the honest truth is so many of us are afraid and dread what the future holds!
I only know I will never beleive the Liberal party again!
Thanks for keeping it real Medhi, I am tired of the line that there was no other choice. I would have preferred C&S, but it is what it is. Let's see how long it lasts, 5 years is a very long time.
So you're critical of Labour tribalists *before* the deal is done, yet notably silent in criticizing them both on question time and now. If Labour tribalists are partly to blame then why not take Lord Falkner to task on this issue???
If you accept as you suggest you do by responding as you have to me and Daragh, that there was a lack of "reciprocal will within the Labour party" then you must surely accept that there are only two other possible outcomes. Either the LibDems get into bed with the Tories, or we hand Cameron the keys to No10 in a minority government with all the powers that being prime minister comes with such as the right to call a new election at any point. History as you should be aware teaches us that in that scenario the likely outcome would be that Cameron would call a new election some time in the near future and win an outright majority. This is not a preferred option to either of us is it Mehdi?
There is of course another side to getting into bed with the Tories which relates to voting reform. If we are to go down the path of voting reform then we will almost always find ourselves with coalition governments. This is a new thing for the British people and to jump into bed with a perceived failed Labour government - to form a coalition of losers would damage our ability to argue for reform and for coalitions. The Tories could successfully argue that coalitions are in fact a corruption of democracy where 2nd and 3rd place can steal the election. By joining with the Tories we can successfully nullify their ability to argue against reform. What is Cameron going to say when arguing against reform if he's part of a successful coalition??
What annoys me is the truly tragic attempt to grab the label 'progressive' by this coalition.
The ConDem coalition in Birmingham has been calling itself the progressive coalition for years - and the reality has been job cuts, rampant neoliberalism and privatisation; like other Tory-LD administrations, it is basically a nightmare.
Progressive it ain't.
It is highly questionable the speed with which the coalition was formed. It really indicates prior discussions, for how can such a deal be done with such haste?
Those, like Heseltine (as a contributor above added), who constantly use rhetoric like the 'national interest' seem to have a quite different agenda, and the provenance of those such as Heseltine is evidence enough to this fact.
The Lib-Dem conference today is also indicative of what is to come. The conference is taking place explicitly without the presence of the press and media. Up to a 100 Lib-Dem members have rescinded their support and possibly membership, if there ever was any for this coalition. Charles Kennedy, the epitome of a Lib-Dem supporter is far from agreement with Clegg's approach.
This is less a discussion or debate about the viability of the new coalition government, I for one hope it brings forth interesting options and initiatives, for their is little I can do to change the status quo, but rather it is a debate about what Lib-Dems stand for, and who should give them their support. In short, who are the Lib-Dems. I for one can't give a precise definition.
The whiff of potential access to power meant that both Cameron and Clegg would have sold their souls to the devil in order to gain control of the government. Witness this sad and sordid attempt to stitch up the primacy of the executive over parliament with this 55% deal. Progressive? Echoes of Joe Stalin to me!
Time to draw a line under all this, now, Mehdi?
We have a coalition government which is fiscally to the right of Labour (although only just, given 13 years of slavish adherence to free-market ecomomic orthodoxy) but quite clearly to the left when it comes to civil liberties. Many of us are extremely worried about the former, but very relieved about the latter.
Let's leave speculation on govt. unity to the Westminster obsessed political journalists, and focus instead on action. Action against cuts that will deepen inequality, and action to remind the Labour Party that we expect it to behave to like a proper progressive social democratic party.
''a Lab-Lib minority coalition governing with the implicit support of the nationalists and others.''
What you fail to grasp is Medhi is that liebour are arrogant spiteful bastards, bit like yourself and they dont want to share power.
Liebour Hates Alex Salmonds SNPs soooo much they would prefer the tories in power. FACT.
''As someone who was once a supporter and admirer of the Liberal Democrats, ''
''Lib Dem apologists - like the odious Greg Mulholland''
Medhi is talking about himself.
He's the one who is odious.
Labour will and should remain out of power until they come up with a realistic economic policy/plan. It's as simple as that. Give us a political plan with economic merits and then we are talking. Very sad to say, but a dead dog could run economic policy based on borrowing up until the bubble burst. So what we sorely need is political dsiscussion and development based around a big touch of realism and new economic thinking. If the NS were to lead on that it would be doing everybody a very big favor...
''In recent days, I've clashed with Liberal Democrat MPs''
Nah son, it wasnt a clash
You were like a mad dog with rabies
You did yourself no favours.
Some muslim should toss a shoe at you.
Thats the biggest insult in the muslim world.
Mehdi is obviously the new Richard Littlejohn – I think he gets paid by the amount of controversial and outlandish comments he can make – trying to make a name for himself without the responsibility of being in a political party.
1. It would be hypocritical if the LibDem say they believe in PR but then form an alliance with the second party to keep the largest party out.
2. Mehdi says elsewhere there should have been a Lab/Lem alliance – which he reckons could break up 6 months down the line where we could have another election – keep it up mate – we can keep holding elections until you get the result you want. These real people, the electorate – must have made a mistake this time.
3. The 10 Bill cuts this year/next year is a bogus argument , 10 Bill is small considering the overall debt and just look out the window to see the real world where real events have caused the UK to contribute to propping up Greece even when the UK is not in the Euro – but it is in the EU
4. Mehdi should get out more, maybe travel to Europe and visit some countries that have coalitions. There he may be able to find an answer to that point regarding how many people from the coalition should get a seat at Question Time.
5. Mehdi – you are not in the Lib Dem party – what is the point of running for election and not taking the chance to prove you can govern when it is handed to you by the electorate for the first time in 50+ years?
6. Can Mehdi say any longer the LibDems can put anything they like in their manifesto as they will never have a chance to govern?
7. All parties break their manifesto commitments when they are in power, read my lips – no taxes, promises for referendums etc
8. Like all extremists no matter what their political views, anything new happens that can’t handle it and run around like headless chickens.
9. Mehdi – keep it up mate!!
''"Daragh" and "bgp", my dear conspiratorial friends,''
Patronising bastard, isnt he ?
Can't help having mixed feelings about this ConLibDem coalition. Didn't vote for it, don't like it and feel let down by Nick Clegg - just as I felt let down by Tony Blair and New Labour with all their promises for a Brave New World. But at least its better than the alternative - a full-blown right-wing Tory government. If the LibDems had got more seats then yes, I too would have preferred a coalition between Labour and the LibDems. But under the circumstances...
Abdul Amir Hassan what exactly is you're problem?
You sound extremely bitter and twisted about everything to do with Labour and then try to tarnish Mehdi with the same brush without any foundation.
Are you a Tory loving, Lib Dem adoring nutjob? This coalition may work, it may not. There are going to be opinions for and against. Whilst Mehdi can express his opinions clearly, succinctly and backed up with evidence, you just go off on a rambling, nonsensical rant resorting to name calling and insults.
You should grow up or just sod off.
I actually have to agree that Mehdi has been astonishingly patronising to those who disagree with him, labelling them conspiracy theorists and 'apologists.' I would prefer it if the name calling on all sides was kept to a minimum. But I would like Mehdi to square one circle in his argument he continues to refuse to address. If Labour couldn't deliver their own MPs in backing any deal, how is the failure of the Lib-Lab coalition to get off the ground Clegg's fault?
Getting a bit arrogant after being on telly, Mr Hasan?
The Lib Dems aren't a socialist party, so its not surprising they aren't pleasing socialists such as yourself.
These odd 'betrayal' arguments dont stack up - its like saying UKIP betrayed the country for voting against the euro.
The LibDems aren't a big state authoritarian socialist party. Therefore they're not just a branch of Labour.
A simple look at the arithmetic shows that in providing any kind of stable government, a Lib/Lab coalition would have been a long drawn-out agony, leading probably to a majority Conservative one within a year.
We shall see what happens now, as the Tories are hardly defenders of personal liberty, just think back to 79-97.
Labour now has avery real chance to develop the kind of economic and social policies needed to cope with a post-monetarist world. We also have a chance to remember that we are the principle party of the left - and should act accordingly.
The authoritarian New Labour project should be buried as soon as is decently possible, and we should remember our earliest banners flew with the word "Liberty" boldly emblazoned.
We need to regain the trust of those 4 million plus voters we lost after 1997.
Let the Lib Dems worry about their new pals in office, we should be more worried about the effects of savage cuts on an already divided society.
If the unlateralist tendency of the libs came over to an Ed led labour party -now that would be a force
36bn for starters, before the next emergency budget. I feel for those Lib Dem supporters who didnt want htis, I really do. The question now is what do these first cuts entail - will they target Whitehall and waste or will they target those that our cabinet have no interest in, or experience of?
If cuts are made in waste, in advertising budgets, and in money spent on ID cards/worthless IT projects, then its all to the good.
However I doubt it will end there. The NHS, soldiers already meagre pay, social services will all suffer. And lets not mention any cultural spending - this may well signal the end of the BBC World Service.
Mehdis anger in this context is very justified, although maybe better spent attacking policies, not parties.
Oops! That meant to read "£6Bn for starters". Wouldnt want to be confused with Liam Byrne...
@ Clem the Gem - "we should be more worried about the effects of savage cuts on an already divided society."
I full support that statement.
Mehdi, I have just watched my recording of this week's Question Time and am appalled at your performance and behaviour. The electorate didn't vote for your personal political prejudices. You have to respect what we have as the popular elected assembly. You are like a throwback to the Loony Left of the 1970s that has such ranting intolerance for democratic expression. You're going to confine us to another 18 years in the political wilderness unless you moderate your political sectarian views and intolerance for anyone who disagrees with you.
''You sound extremely bitter and twisted,you just go off on a rambling, nonsensical rant resorting to name calling and insults.''
You have just described Medhi to a T.
Well done, son !!
you've out ranted the ranter to quite a considerable extent !
I have been a Liberal Democrat activist for the last 23 years. I have met Simon Hughes a few times and I can honestly say that I have never found him to be uninformed or other than extremely polite. Having watched Question Time I took no notice of anything you said for the simple reason that you were incredibly rude and aggressive. As a psychologist I am absolutley certain that many others will have been similarly turned off by you given that we know that people pay more attention to how things are said than the content of what is said. You seem to confuse anger with thought. I would suggest you seriously think about your anger issues and that you encourage your labour friends to do the same in order to be able to work out what went wrong and how to fix it.
Mehdi is employed as a polemicist, would you prefer he read out half time results?
Just a thought for all the passionate Liberals out there (an honourable tradition):
Liberty without Equality is Slavery,
Equality without Liberty is Tyranny.
From what I see here the advocates of "new politics" are just as unthinking as those they label "tribalists".
And Abdul should remember the classics - After Hubris comes Nemisis.
To the above poster:
Angry? There is nothing wrong with being passionate about what you believe in and in defence of ideals and principles which that have granted millions of people in the UK fairer opportunities and benefits.
The tories made people very angry when they were last in power and the lib dems ave made many people angry be now joining them in a faustian pact.
If anything, it was the arrogant Heseltine and the defensive Hughes were not able to engage with the substance of Mehdi Hasans arguments.
But I suppose seeing a brown man on TV standing up for whats right isn't always acceptable to many members of the political status quo.
Thanks. I am no partisan, I just find it very interesting that journalists on both the left and right seem most determined to see this coalition end in tears before it has even got going.
At least the right wing journo's didn't pretend they approved of coalition government before the election. What we have seen on these pages is people defending coalition politics prior to the election and then crying foul when the coalition that we ended up with isn't the one that they wanted.
And the special party conference (that you can bet Labour wouldn't have bothered holding) has ended in overwhelming support for the agreement. Can Mehdi now jump off his 'Betrayal' High Horse?
It's very curious that Mehdi Hasan is quoting Paddy Ashdown since Paddy Ashdown has said that he supports the coalition and he didn't consider the Labour one viable even if he would always prefer to be in a viable coalition with Labour than the Tories.
Mehdi Hasan is also on very weak ground claiming that there was an alternative to this coalition. He has himself elsewhere argued that Labour tribalists ensured that there was no viable Labour offer.
So the alternative was a minority Conservative administration. Which would have meant 6 months of economic uncertainty followed by another election in which Cameron would have got a majority - Labour sure as well weren't going to get any more popular in the next 6 months. If Mehdi Hasan can't see this I don't know what business he has being a political journalist.
Wait a minute, I know - he's good at pointing fingers at people.
A minority administration when European states are being stalked by sovereign debt fears was not viable.
The smartest thing Labour supporters can do is support electoral reform in the upcoming referendum which will ultimately work in the favour of Labour and a different electoral system will certainly make it easy for a coalition to deny the Tories if that is what Labour wants next time.
The CSU in Germany is the Bavarian version of the CDU - the CDU doesn't compete in Bavaria. The equivalent of the Lib Dems in Germany is the FPD - who have been in coalition repeatedly with both the CPD and the SPD (Labour equiavlent).
In fact, the German liberals have been in the majority of governments in West Germany/Germany since WW2. So a party like the Lib Dems both can and needs to deal with both the right and the light, promoting its policies as much as possible. They might be trying to water down economic policy with Conservatives but they'd be trying to water down a hell of a lot of Labour policies too - centralisation and attacks on civil liberties (Labour has always had an authorotarian streak). The idea that Lib Dems and Labour are two peas in a pod isn't true. If they were, they'd have merged long ago.
There really are some pathetic attempts at depicting Mr hasan as unhinged
He was Heroic as for the pretend psychiatrist ask around your patients who was the most sincere on the panel
you'll end up being prescribed some of what they're on when you disagree with them
Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.