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Ming Campbell's answer to Triangulation

I see that in this morning's Independent Michael Brown makes the case for an alliance between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

I find it hard to feel warm and cuddly about such an alliance, but that is not because I have any great ideological hang ups about working with Conservatives. The problem is that, were cross party coalitions required in the future, I find that the Conservatives have more in common with Labour.

It is Labour who have proposed most of the key planks of the surveillance state, which the Conservatives have supported.

It is Labour who proposed the Iraq war, the Conservatives who supported it.

It is Labour who try to impose unworkable but supposedly draconian legislation on immigration, the Conservatives who have supported it.

In fact the Conservatives have supported Labour on several of their key mistakes.

The Liberal Democrats have been a far more effective opposition to Labour than the Conservatives, simply because the supposed left and the supposed right have converged on a mildly reactionary, mildly authoritarian consensus.

The Liberal Democrats are supporters of a progressive, far more libertarian world view.

As Ming Campbell finished his speech this afternoon, he completed a Liberal Democrat conference which has underlined our commitment to Liberalism as a force to promote individuality and freedom. The message is clear: if you support less restrictive, more individualistic society, then the Liberal Democrats are on your side.

As for Michael Brown: the Tories just aren't in favour of the kinds of freedom that we are working for, any more than Labour are. In fact the other two have more in common with each other than either have with us. So, since you will not ask whether Labour would go into coalition with the Tories, why bother to ask the Lib Dems? Your agenda is to create a spoiling tactic and distract the electorate from the reality of the current Tweedledum/Tweedledee politics.

Our politics remains about principles and, after a successful and business like conference, the Liberal Democrats can look forward to putting our case to the country at local, European and eventually the general elections ahead of us.


Anonymous said…

May we cross swords again?

Briefly surveillance state Tory support? Evidence m'lud. Exhibits for defence, 90 days, Religious Hatred Bill, ID Cards (under Cameron) So you're saying what?

Iraq War - So did a lot of people who trusted that on something like this the PM would not speak unless he was 100%. Not just Conservatives. One P Ashdown as well!

Immigration. Well we'll have to disagree. But it's hard to see how borrowing Zapatero's idea when Zapatero has been caught admitting to Sarkozy what a mistake it was, is now a good idea!

Don't push the old tired Tory/Lab thing again Consul. It's the Emperor with no clothes argument. Sans another World War or major major national crisis which we all pray not this a risible one even as a debating point.

Good Luck in Aberdeen

Martin Veart said…
I think Ming's point the closeness of New Labour and the Tories is well taken and possibly a great threat to the long-term prospect of democracy in the UK. The situation is becoming ominously like that in the USA where there is little to divide the Republican and Democratic parties. The Liberal Democrats are the only UK-wide opposition to the cozy concensus of the two largest parties. It is vital that we take the field on this point.

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