Sunday, 8 May 2011

The LibDems are being crucified by the left, Mr Cable, not the right...

As Vince Cable condemns the Tory attacks on Nick Clegg, he should be asking himself who exactly are his real enemies. In a perceptive blog, James Graham notes

A lot of Labour politicians are hellbent on a strategy that is about destroying the LibDems, even if it means effectively letting Cameron off the hook. There's no getting away from the fact that the LibDems are now seriously weakened, but what has that gained Labour? Look at Scotland. Labour let the Tories win the popular vote in England, which is an absolutely extraordinary failure.
You only have to read Polly Toynbee - doyen of the left and herself a former SDP member - to understand where such vitriol is coming from:And this is a view increasingly found across the left of British politics. The LibDems should never want power. Their job is to be a Labour party mark two - a chill out room for the main Labour event. A pale shadow of top-down, centralised, sclerotic socialism - but without the war in Iraq.
How badly they misunderstood the nature of their swelling support: they were a safe haven for voters not wanting tough choices, nice people with apolitical instincts, trusting Clegg's promised "new politics" would keep their votes clean from contamination. Had the Lib Dems stood apart and stood their ground, loudly opposing Tory plans, objecting to the savagery of the budget without quite bringing down the government, they might have kept their virginity.

In a well argued piece for Saturday's Guardian called The left is practically defined by people who hate Nick CleggAndrew Brown points out that on student fees - a cause seen by the left as the the LibDems greatest betrayal despite having been originally introduced by Labour against a manifesto committment 
the outcry against them comes from people who see themselves losing a privilege they had considered as a right. There's a word for that, and it's not "liberal"
He continues,
hatred of Clegg is concentrated on the fact that he betrayed some of the policies he ran on; but he did so because the country voted against them. That's democracy. Sometimes the majority is wrong. Sometimes it disagrees with you. But the majority still gets to decide, as the Lib Dems, in coalition, have discovered. There's no reason whatever that a party with 23% of the votes should get 100% of its programme through. The people who think it should are not being democratic.
As Olly Grender wrote in a piece entitled Don't Vote Against AV because you hate Nick Clegg, a week before the referendum 
both David Cameron and Nick Clegg will still be in the same jobs next week. A vote for or against AV won’t change that

It was published in the New Statesman and aimed squarely at the left - not the right.

The unpalatable truth, Mr Cable, is that the LibDems are being destroyed by the left. Just as Islam reserves the ultimate punishment for apostacy, the LibDems are being crucified by the left. Not the right.