Sunday, 16 May 2010

Should Lib Dem voters feel betrayed?

Yesterday I watched the 13 May episode of Question Time, featuring Michael Heseltine, Charles Falconer, Simon Hughes, Melanie Phillips, and Mehdi Hasan. Even in this company, Hasan stood out as a vile.

Much discussion focused on the question of whether Liberal Democrat voters should feel betrayed. It's a bizarre idea, since their party has long supported proportional representation, which — for better or for worse — would make coalition governments commonplace. And with coalition governments, compromise is inevitable — even more so than usual, manifesto commitments will be broken.

I imagine the 'betrayed' Lib Dem voters fall into three categories:
  1. those who hoped for a coalition with Labour
  2. those who hoped to remain in principled opposition
  3. those who thought the Lib Dems could win a majority
I doubt there were very many in the third category. I have no sympathy for those in the first. As for those who would prefer to remain independent, I think they should reflect on quite what a good deal they've got. For the first time in decades, they will be able to influence major areas of government policy. It is an opportunity they would be foolish to pass up.

According to today's report from the BBC, it seems that the assembled party activists have recognised this:
Lib Dem activists have "overwhelmingly" backed leader Nick Clegg's coalition deal with the Conservatives.
The new deputy prime minister is reported to have received a standing ovation from Lib Dem activists at Birmingham's NEC. Party sources said no more than a dozen of the 2,000 delegates opposed the deal in a show of hands.

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