LIBDEMS CROSS THE RUBICON
10 February 2012
Well, that’s it then. Here we are at the beginning of the ninth book of Paradise Lost. The Libdems, like Adam and Eve, have shredded themselves and cannot undo it. I feel about that party like many social democrats and the centre-left:
“Now alienated, distance, and distaste,
Anger, and just rebuke”.
In the nineteen months since the general election the party has destroyed itself. It is now simply the Tory party in orange. It was thought of as an independent party of progress and reform. The entry into coalition with the Conservatives itself much damaged that but more destructive for it has been its compliance with the dire Tory program. For example, the Libdem party in parliament, with some very small number of dissenters including from Cornwall, has supported for England the trebling of tuition fees after a song-and-dance-and-juggling-clowns promise not to, the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board which gave security to low paid farm workers, abolition of the Building Schools for the Future program, and abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance: support for a parade of reactionary policies for England which has brought the bemerded Libdem party to the edge of progressive derision and contempt.
Now we have the party’s Rubicon support for two major destructive bills, the Health and Social Care bill and the Welfare Reform bill which change the NHS and benefits arrangements. Most bills are curate’s eggs and the services certainly need reform, but these bills have too much that is damaging; they are pivotal for progressives. Look, Libdems have voted in bulk in the Lords and Commons against targeted and civilising amendments to the latter bill, in effect supporting assaults on the ill, disabled, and disadvantaged, unimaginable from them before May 2010. Only a few Libdems voted against.
Nothing is left but tears at the death of a once admirable radical party. It has shredded itself and I have nothing but scorn for it. In this mire the Libdems are now fracturing into fragments. They’re with Adam and Eve at the end of book nine now:
“Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;
And of their vain contest appeared no end”.
There will be no paradise regained for the Liberal Democrats.
Addendum On 14 February 2012 the Lords accepted an amendment that mitigated the ‘bedroom tax,’ the under-occupation provisions. Libdem members of the Lords from Cornwall, Jolly, Teverson, and Tyler voted against the mitigating amendment.
The shame of the Libdems 13 January 2012
John Milton (1608-74) Paradise Lost (1667)