Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't blame Labour for ConLib deal

Let's just have a quick recap on those negotiations, now that a Tory/Lib Dem coalition appears certain.

During the election campaign, senior Labour figures encouraged their supporters to vote Lib Dem. Yesterday, Labour's leader stepped down to try to remove a barrier to a deal between Labour and the Lib Dems. Labour went beyond their manifesto to offer a referendum on certain kinds of electoral reform which the Lib Dems favour.

Meanwhile, before May 6th the Lib Dems gloated about how they planned to make the Labour Party irrelevant, claimed that the election was between the Lib Dems and the Tories and insisted that they would negotiate with the Tories first. And after their poor performance in the election, they offered literally no concessions and made no effort whatsoever to make a deal with Labour possible.

Like many in the Labour Party, I didn't like the way that our leadership were bending over backwards to try to do a deal with the Lib Dems. But for anyone now to claim that it is Labour's fault that the Lib Dems decided to team up with the Tories beggars belief.

Those of us who warned that voting Lib Dem could let the Tories in have been proven right, and Lib Dem supporters and liberal lefties who don't like what their party has done should have been listening more closely to Nick "savage cuts" Clegg over the past few months.

Part of what Labour needs to do now is to think about how we need to change to attract the support of those people who used to vote Lib Dem because they want social justice and political reform. This will certainly be one of the criteria for deciding who my vote will go to for Labour's next leader.


At 4:59 pm , Anonymous jdc said...


At 5:39 pm , Anonymous Ben said...

Encore, encore!

At 6:44 pm , Anonymous Sarah said...

Very well said. (Though I'm clearly not reading the right - probably Lib Dem - blogs, as I've not seen the claims to the contrary yet...)

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At 10:27 am , Anonymous CS Clark said...

Well said, and best said now because it's going to be trotted out every time the Lib Dems have to defend themselves that they didn't have a choice.

At 8:18 pm , Anonymous Lets hope said...

It's possible that Labour in opposition leads the party left and that will be a positive thing. Perhaps it'll be a good thing if they don't have to govern during the inevitable hard times ahead. Alot will no doubt depend on the new leader. The new leader will most likely be from the next generation. This will mean an almost total generational shift in leadership in Britain, with baby Boomers out and Generation Jones (the formerly “lost” generation between the Boomers and Xers) taking over in Parliament and party leadership (Cameron and Clegg also come from this generation). This has also been happening abroad and has promoted a lot of media interest, particularly in the U.S. Here’s an interesting piece from last week’s Independent about the significance this transition to Generation Jones:

We don't know whether a Genjones leader will take Labour left, but I certainly think that s/he will help renew the party.

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