Thursday, 9 August 2012

Setting the Boundaries or Crossing the Line?

Although for many people the national euphoria engendered by the Olympics has kept political matters in the background, there are significant events occurring in the bubble of the political blogsphere.

The anti-Coalition Conservatives have whinged and complained almost constantly since the Coalition was created in May 2010. Their explicit contempt for the Liberal Democrats is paralleled only by their misconception that somehow the Liberal Democrats are "calling the shots" and that Nick Clegg is somehow more significant than David Cameron.

Their constant demand is for the Party to quit the Coalition and change its policies - those being advocated are basically Thatcherite and they want a Thatcher-like leader - confrontational, abrasive and above all proudly and defiantly Conservative. They see Boris Johnson as a possible Leader but he's not even an MP.

Meanwhile, because they are fundamentally weak and cowardly - they haven't got the moral courage or the principal to leave their Party and join UKIP or set up an independent group or actively challenge David Cameron - all the anti-Coalition Tories do is gripe, whinge, moan and obstruct. They forget their party failed to win a majority in 2010 and it was their leader, David Cameron, who instigated the Coalition. They have newspapers like the Mail, Express and the Sun top carry their traitorous message but what they are is a disgraceful rag-tag of failures and non-achievers.

One thing this guerilla band have done is scupper much-needed political reform aided and abetted by the political opportunists of the Labour Party. Despite the manifesto commitments of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to reform the House of Lords as well as the Commons, Nick Clegg's reform proposals (admittedly imperfect but a basis for discussion) were decried, derided and dumped. The status quo, supported by no one, survives because of selfish political point-scoring.

Now, Nick Clegg has rightly argued that if one part of the reform package fails, the whole lot has failed so changes to parliamentary boundaries are being abandoned. This has led to howls of outrage from the usual suspects in the Tory ranks and their slow-witted acolytes in the political blogsphere who have rehashed ad nauseam their vitriol on the Liberal Democrats in general and Nick Clegg in particular.

The problem for the Tories is that the proposed changes to parliamentary boundaries would help the party - possibly by much as 20 seats - and try to weaken the inbuilt advantage enjoyed by Labour which enjoys a more efficient distribution of its vote across England in particular. The Conservatives, by their stupid short-sighted stubbornness, aided and abetted by the cretinous right such as the odious Donal Blaney of the so-called Young Britons Foundation (as fascistic a name as it gets), have not only undermined the Coalition but have made it much more likely that Labour will either win a majority or be the largest party after the next election.

Not, of course, that the lunatic fringe of the Tories and their right-wing fellow travellers care a jot about that. They would willingly spend five years in Opposition if it meant the end of the Liberal Democrats, the end of David Cameron and the election of a "real" Conservative to the party leadership and the adoption of "real" Conservative policies including of course a referendum on EU membership.

IF the Coalition fails, the tragedy will be that the "Fifth Column" of Tories will have brought about its demise and we will have lost a great opportunity to carry through a radical programme of social and economic renewal and recovery.

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