By Aaron Frazer
Lets wait and see. This is the cry of the more idealistic and patient progressives amongst us. They see this as a political marriage of convenience between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, and have essentially concluded that “this wasn’t exactly what I was thinking but, hey, it will allow the Liberal Democrats to exercise some real influence”. The more diplomatic part of my brain understands this.
Much as I appreciate the Vietcong jungle trap which is the realm of political predictions (In Tony Blair’s vain I “never make predictions, I never have, and I never will”), I am, reservedly, going to make a prediction. This coalition will not be a disaster nor will it be hasten the destruction of British society. That is honestly the best part of being removed from the far sides of the political spectrum; it enables one to avoid the language of irrevocable political and moral decline. The only disappointment will be progressive minded people who, like me, showed monumental naivety in voting for the Liberal Democrats. In just three weeks, Lib Dem ambitions have been whittled down to essentially tax reform and a referendum on the most unambitious reformation of the electoral system. The implementation of a progressive agenda is not what the majority of people will associate with this Liberal coalition. It will be a party who actively participated in the biggest spending cut fetishism since Thatcher. The scale of the cuts ahead, told in terrifying detail by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, will be of historic significance. The Liberals will also be remembered as complicit in an amazing piece of political trickery which ensured that the ‘bloated’ public sector and claimants of welfare can and should be bashed because of a private sector meltdown. Some may, it can only be hoped, become increasingly amazed that this government has not attempted to initiate a serious debate about getting irresponsible financial institutions to compensate for bringing the countries economy to its knees. The Liberals will also be widely associated with whatever policies, both good and bad, which are initiated by the Conservatives. This will effectively ensure that the meticulously executed PR effort, which constructed the Lib Dems as the progressive ‘alternative’, will implode. Contrary perhaps to much of the new Cabinet, many people who voted Liberal Democrat were seduced by Clegg’s left of centre, redistributive-sounding populism. Ban arms sales to Israel, get rid of Nuclear weapons and erratic electoral systems; these were some of the many proposals, constructed and presented in a way that would appeal to disillusioned Labour voters. When progressive ideas and policies get subsumed or ignored, me and many of those who voted Lib Dem , will need an almighty sized cloth to get to grips with such an egg covered face.