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Should the Liberal Democrats now leave the coalition?

As the scale of the disaster of the Brussels summit for Britain becomes clear, it is now an open question as to whether the Liberal Democrats should continue to be members of a government that has so spectacularly undermined the British interest.

We have been openly derided, not just from the left, notably and effectively by John Kampfner, but also mocked by the Europhobic Conservatives in a more infantile and insulting way.

We serve two purposes in coalition: firstly to put forward and enact as much of the Liberal agenda as possible and secondly to save the Conservative Party from itself.

The failure in Brussels shows that we can not prevent the Conservatives acting on their basest anti-European instincts. The damage that this will do to our country is severe and permanent.

I understand that if we go to the country in a general election now, our party will be severely damaged. However I would far rather go now on a point of principle that is central to the Liberal Democrat cause, than linger on, derided and ineffectual to the same result- but greater damage to our country- in three years time.

David Cameron must be put on notice that the Liberal Democrats will not see the interests of our country undermined by his party political sectionalism. We do not and must not claim ownership of this fiasco. Cameron's bet on the failure of the Euro is a bad mistake, and we should say so, out loud, now.

I do not expect the coalition to fall, but unless Nick Clegg can recover the situation over the next two quarters, I -for one- will be advocating a further vote by the party on the coalition at the Autumn conference in Brighton next year.


Dilettante said…
As I said on Facebook:

"Its so depressing. Every which way we turn we hear about the Liberal Democrats blocking this or blocking that, and yet somehow a European veto gets through the net."

Will nobody think of the Europhile Conservatives?
Anonymous said…
"The failure in Brussels shows that we can not prevent the Conservatives acting on their basest anti-European instincts. The damage that this will do to our country is severe and permanent."

Leaving the coalition now and having a general election will result in a tory majority government, with probably even more Eurosceptics than at present - I fail to see how that is going to improve the country's situation.

Furthermore it is far too early to say whether or not the proposals to save the Euro will work - so far too early to make decisions on the future of the coalition. Because it is possible that staying on the sidelines might turn out to have been the right thing to do.

The UK's biggest mistake is the historical one of not having got properly involved when the original European Economic Community was first mooted and then created - by playing a full role then we might have had more influence on the outcome.
David Dee said…
I do not think that the Lib Dems should bring down this Tory-led Government just now.

However there is another scenario in which Cameron gets some immediate bounce from his appalling disasterous decision and from this bounce decides to disband the coalition and go to ther country in the hope that the dire consequences of his decision will take some time to show up clearly.

So the Lib Dems have now got to make it known,in a very public way why they disagree with this self-interested decision and keep drumming out this message, in line with the Labour party.

If the public can be made to realise that this is a con-trick and that Cameron has no where to go now other than to leave the EU or call a referendum which might be the same thing.

This decision puts at risk 40% of our trade (approx.£143B), will increase unemployment by approx another 3m jobs. It also removes the .clout; that membership gives us in our dealings with non-eu countries such as China,India etc.

It also puts at risk our 'special relationship with the USA,who may not be as interested in doing trade with us if we are an isolated entity.
There is also the restrictions that this would only place on the movement of British workers and on pension rights and healthcare of, particularly,retired folk.

There is also the, perhaps lesser advantages such as EU arrest warrants and the fight against organised crime.

It is now time for the Lib Dems,whilst remainiong within the coalition, to make these cases, to continue their resisting the Tory policy on NHS and other 'nasty party; policies that, so far, the Lib Dems have diluted.

Once the public accept that Cameron has made a serious error in using his veto to protect the city of London's bankers, who caused the mess in the first place, at the cost of the Countries interest then that is the time to n pull the rug and watch our useless,powerless and Pantomime PM sink without trace !!!!
Anonymous said…
Well said. This is very worrying.
Lord Blagger said…
No. The Lib Dems need to explain why they want to join.

For example there is a cap on deficits of 0.5% of GDP. 7 bn for the UK.

Current deficit, 150 bn.

Overnight cuts needed 143 bn.

The lib dems need to say what they are going to cut.
James King said…
I think we should certainly be thinking about a new leader.
Paul Twigg said…
@ Lord Bagger, I guess a self-confessed "Economic and social liberal" would not care if we cut £143 billion from the current debt in one year, but the rest of his party might and this is of course the logical part of being in a party in which, when Europe says "jump", you ask "how high?". A great irony, given the centre of gravity within the lib dems is left of centre and a lot of them are unhappy about the current debt reduction proposals, let alone what the Europeans propose...
Lord Blagger said…
There we go. The debt word.

You clearly don't understand the difference between debt and deficit, or its a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Deficit = rate at which borrowing (not debt) increases over the course of the year.

Debt - what gets quoted is borrowing - gilts.

What is omitted is the true debt, which is around 7,000 bn, not 1,050 bn (which is just gilts)

The EU deal means that the current deficit (overspend) of 140 bn a year, has to be cut to 7 bn a year maximum.

Now the lib dems want in to this deal.

If you're a lib dem, then the onus on you is to tell us how that deficit is cut.

Spending cuts or tax increase, or a combination are the only choices bar printing lots of money. However, if you print, then you can't give out inflation linked rises in wages, benefits or pensions, because that just increases spending.

So when you say, cut 143 bn from the debt, that would mean cuts in spending of double that, or tax rises of double that. 286 bn of cuts.

[PS, if you are confused, I'm not surprised. The BBC carries on pushing it, even though I've had three complaints upheld about them making the same basic error]

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