The Liberal Democrats – Leaderless and Pointless?

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Oh yes, the LibDems screwed-up their legacy big time five years ago, didn’t they? They fancied another go in government and against all their principles got into bed with the Tories, eh? They thought they could get something valuable out of it all, but acts of prostitution rarely deliver that, do they?

The biggest thing the LibDems wanted, indeed needed, dreamed of no less, was electoral reform. The last thing the Tories wanted, indeed needed, had nightmares about no less, was electoral reform. Whatever high regard we many might hold the LibDems in, the word ‘naivety’ comes to mind when considering their chances of upstaging the Conservatives on that one, don’t you think?

Everyone knows that the thing that killed the LibDems was the student fees fiasco. In reality it wasn’t really all that significant an issue or a big deal on the scale of things though, but it was an unrecoverable disaster because they had broken the bond of trust and the electorate are a fickle lot with elephant like memories. It is a broken promise that will tarnish the LibDem brand for another decade – much worse than the Thorpe murder trial fiasco of 1979. In five short years the LibDems have lost their significant gaggle of MEPs, seen their large gang of MPs decimated and most significant of all have watched their substantial raft of Councillors almost totally evaporate.

Unbelievably, as they approached the general election last month, the leadership insisted that the LibDems were going to do OK, when everyone else knew they were going down the pan – which kind of stupidity only reinforced the public’s opinion that the party was living in cloud cuckoo land. Leader Nick Clegg, a smooth talking dummy, confidently led his party into oblivion, didn’t he? The LibDems claimed they had done the decent and honourable thing for the Country in going into coalition government with the Conservatives. The voters might have believed it if that had not been belied by the ministerial cars and the other trappings of power that they secured with it; this followed by their utter condemnation of Tory dogma and behaviour in government that they themselves had just endorsed and perpetuated – stupid eh?

We have had the unedifying spectacle of previously respected politicians, as of the likes of Paddy Ashdown, blaming Labour for the world’s economic collapse. Furthermore on election night he was adamant that he would eat his hat on live television if the exit poll proved right and the LibDems would lose the bulk of their seats (another broken promise, eh!).

Surprisingly, since their downfall, the LibDems report a massive success in recruiting new members (getting towards twenty thousand indeed). A puzzling outturn certainly, but perhaps it is simply the big hearted British public’s expressing their sympathy for the party’s impending expiry, or alternatively just wanting to vote for a new leader – anyone but Clegg perhaps?

Certainly the LibDems are leaderless now – since Nick Clegg at long last fell on his sword, having surprisingly held onto his Sheffield Hallam MP’s seat (just – losing thirteen thousand of his fifteen thousand majority). Now we have the nobodies left seeking to take over. These days the powerhouses have all disappeared though, haven’t they?

The LibDems were previously blessed with a wonderful politician and top whack leader in the form of Scotsman Charles Kennedy (seven years in charge and the one who gave them their best ever parliamentary electoral result), who sadly lost his life a week ago – reportedly through alcoholism. When his problem with alcohol was publically exposed in 2006 the LibDems quickly ditched him – they didn’t try to cope, or struggle to handle it, or bother to help him, did they? No – not t very liberal though, eh?

Mind you, Kennedy hasn’t been the only leader to suffer from addiction to the demon drink, was he? No, we had the likes of the great Conservative PM Winston Churchill, a reprobate drunk (champagne scotch & brandy of course), who still managed to survive, and both flourish and perform brilliantly at times. Then we had Labour’s deputy leader George Brown an excessive drinker that allowed him to cope with the pressures of high office such as foreign secretary, eh? Or his rival and another Labourite PM Harold Wilson, wrongly thought by many to be a politician without principle (miscalled a crook), nevertheless a successful four time general election winner, but equally he was an alcoholic to boot. Even image wise clean living PM Tony Blair hit the bottle, but says his drinking was “not excessively excessive” whatever that means? Historically, there will have been numerous other PMs with alcohol problems of course, but in times long past civilised aristocrat society always kept such matters well behind closed doors, didn’t they?

There are now only eight LibDem MPs who have survived the electorate’s cruel cull [Nick Clegg Sheffield Hallam, Tom Brake Carshalton & Wallington, Alistair Carmichael Orkney & Shetland, Tim Farron Westmorland & Lonsdale, Norman Lamb North Norfolk, Greg Mulholland Leeds North West, John Pugh Southport, Mark Williams Ceredigion].

So whose hats have been thrown in the leadership ring then? Well, only two are in, and nominations have now closed.

The LibDems have the stark choice of the favourite and ex-president figurehead Tim Farron, but clearly a non-entity who has politically done nothing and achieved nothing, but nevertheless remains untainted by coalition government contamination, which could be popular with ordinary party members? Or the other yesterday’s man Norman Lamb, apparently beloved by lady lords, unknown except by itinerant sheep farmers in rural Norfolk, who served under the Tories as a health minister (social care) but though he tried hard, he will inevitably eventually carry the yoke of blame for the next decade for their combined screw-up of our beloved NHS, that has already taken place and will doubtless continue throughout this parliament?

Both candidates will have breathed a great sigh of relief that they haven’t (as yet) been endorsed by one Alistair Carmichael, the only reelected LibDem Scot, who had served alongside the Tories as scotland secretary, but is better known for his recent infamous election campaign smear dirty trick and the shameful cover-up lies he uttered publically.

We will know the outcome of the LibDems leadership selection in just over a month’s time – but who cares, eh? It is a pointless role, the horse has bolted, the die is cast, it’s the end game now, and all that kind of thing. The LibDems remain comatose in dreamland thinking of another phoenix style resurrection from the ashes. There has been no mold breaking by the social democrats and now the LibDems as Party is defunct – so get over it.

The survival of the LibDems and their genes can only be achieved now by a full merger with the Labour Party, which is in similar trouble – forming perhaps the Labour Liberal Union Democratic party, to be known as the LabLibs?


[There can be no doubt that liberal ideals and supporters have played a significant part and made a massive contribution, over a hundred and fifty years to British politics and society, so hopefully that will continue]

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