Con-Lib-Dem Merger? Count me out!

We all understand the reasons for the Con/Lib-Dem Coalition.  Virtually no Conservative wanted it, but most of us recognised that it was the best we could do, given the electoral arithmetic.  We understood the sacrifices and the compromises, but we admitted through gritted teeth that they were a price worth paying to see a Conservative Prime Minister in office, and even more important, to address the fiscal crisis.
 
The trouble is that it seems some Conservatives are getting just a bit too comfortable with it.
 
Cameron initially ruled out any Con/Lib-Dem pact in by-elections, or in the next General Election.  More recently he has softened this position enormously with his “We have no plans” formulation.  Meantime Conservative grandees who should know better have spoken up for a permanent electoral pact (like John Major — did I really vote to select him for Huntingdon all those years ago?  Fraid so!).   And the word “merger” is heard rather too often.
 
We see this approach in the shameful and supine approach of the Conservative Party to the Oldham & Saddleworth by-election.  My sympathy goes out to our candidate Kashif Ali, apparently running as a paper candidate to preserve the absurd fiction that “We fought this by-election as Conservatives”.  No we didn’t.  We have sent out the strongest possible signal that we are supporting the Lib-Dems, to save Nick Clegg’s face.  We have failed to campaign as Conservatives.  It is widely reported, and not denied, that Andrew Mitchell argued to universal agreement, in Cabinet, that we should do everything possible to support the Lib-Dems.
 
But why?  We all know the inter-party tactics and sensitivities, but we also know that whatever we do, the Lib-Dems will be crucified in Old & Sad, and will come a very poor third — if not fourth.  It is a racing certainty that Labour will win the seat, with Conservatives second.  Labour will benefit from the opprobrium that always attaches to instigators of legal challenges resulting in by-elections; from a large-scale defection of Lib-Dem voters; and from their ten-point surge in the opinion polls since the election.
 
There was just an outside chance that we Conservatives might have won it, if we’d made an effort, but no chance that the Lib-Dems would win under any circumstances.  We’ve gifted Labour a seat that they might have lost.
 
But let’s look beyond January 13th to the next General Election, which I expect will be fought under the traditional First-Past-The-Post system.  I personally have been happy (and occasionally proud) to be a Conservative Party member for decades, and a Conservative parliamentarian since 1999.  But I have winced at times at some of the decisions the Party has made.  The tax hikes.  Ken Clarke’s justice policies.  Our obsession with climate change.  And most of all, underlying the whole of politics like the drum-beat in Ravel’s Bolero, the decades-long betrayal on Europe.  On most of these issues, I sense that the Party rank-and-file is a great deal closer to my position than to that of the Conservative High Command (and MEP or not, I very much identify with the Party’s rank-and-file).
 
And what do the Lib-Dems bring to the party?  An even more limp-wristed approach to immigration, and justice.  A positively dangerous attitude to terrorism, as we can see from the current debate on Control Orders.  Their “Pupil Premium”, which subsidises failure when we should be investing in success.  A general pretension to fiscal probity, undermined at every point by a determination to spend on particular pet issues.  A blind, lunatic obsession with the climate issue, and a closed-minded determination to spend eye-watering sums on futile attempts at mitigation.  And above all, total subservience to the EU.
 
We shall never have a robust EU policy while we consort with Clegg and his kind.  We shall never see the repatriation of powers from Brussels that we promised (and then forgot).  We shall continue meekly passing authority and responsibility for our governance from Westminster to the EU.
 
I got into politics in the first place to oppose Britain’s absorption into Europe.  As The Lady Galadriel says in The Lord of the Rings, “Together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”  Or at least, in my case, for a dozen years.  I have not engaged in that fight for the whole of my political life to give up now, on the altar of short-term political expedience.
 
Today, with a new Westminster intake of mainly euro-sceptic young Conservative MPs, we have as good a chance as ever of making progress.  Yet a Lib-Dem merger would throw that chance away. 
 
So I give notice to anyone who may be interested:  I will not be a member of such a mongrel party.  I will not represent it in Brussels.  I will not campaign for it, and I will not vote for it.  And nor, I suspect, will most of the Conservatives I know.

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18 Responses to Con-Lib-Dem Merger? Count me out!

  1. Richard de Gerber says:

    Why is it you get it Roger? You know the policies that can win a General Election tomorrow without Clegg’s barmy rabble, yet Cameron, Hague and others seem to ignore the obvious? Even Boris at City Hall is having to tackle fellow Conservatives on basics like taxation and the politics of envy, has the Tory party been hyjacked or is there a scheme you and I missed and all will come good soon?

  2. Cliff Williams says:

    It was a difficult decision for David Cameron, no doubt. If he did not forge an alliance with the Lib-Dems he could not take over as Prime Minister which probably would have left PM Brown in power. The benefit of no alliance would have allowed Cameron another year to campaign, point out the deficits in the Labour leadership and pickup additional pure Conservative seats in the by-election.
    Instead, Cameron took the quicker road forging (nay, I believe merging already) with the Lib-Dems which stopped all Conservatives in currently held Lib-Dem seats from a strong campaign in future elections.
    Clegg could not have agreed to an alliance without some consession from Brown or Cameron for the larger party easing up on the Lib-Dem candidate in future campaigns.
    It would have been far better to not forge an alliance and have the ability to run a strong campaign in future elections than to have power for a short amount of time and ultimately be precluded from picking up minor party Lib-Dem seats. Now Labour will have a cake-walk in those seats.
    No merger…but, it has already happened.

  3. Heather Alibakir says:

    Nor will I, Roger and many more like us. There is a growing mood of disaffection amongst my Conservative friends and some of us who worked for the party are feeling like damp squibs on the 5th of November.

  4. It is largely due to Liberal Democrat policies and an increasingly liberal agenda, that our modern UK Conservative Party is gradually losing support throughout the country. In particular, the government’s ongoing failure to acknowledge the huge advantages which we could gain from leaving the EU, lukewarm attempts to apply localism, failure to tackle immigration and very few genuine efforts to help reduce the level of anti-Christian discrimination. Our civil liberties continue to be curtailed, whilst the dysfunctional Foreign Office continues to say little and do nothing – regarding the global crisis of Christian persecution.

    • Richard says:

      What is a “UK” Conservative party? No wonder the British people have lost their identity when its citizens don’t even know the name of their country and use the constitutional status abbreviation instead. When you refer to Germany do you say the FR? How about China? Shall we call it the PR? But I digress.

      Can the Tories win enough seats in the future to govern alone? I would suggest unlikely after the coming cuts have taken their toll. The Tories are going to need outside support and that’s why I think Cameron is keeping the Lib Dems happy.

      • Cliff Williams says:

        Perhaps Julian is not a British citizen.

        The stated focus should not be on reducing the debt but the face of Conservatives should be on supporting private business growth to spur job creation. Westminster should make a focus of reducing debt but highly publicize any and all job creation efforts. And…for the record, not plumping up the numbers of people working on the government payroll.

  5. Derek says:

    I would not support a continuation of the coalition either, so let’s hope that DC sticks to his current pronouncement and doesn’t go for one.

  6. Publicising job creation efforts seems to be important to Cliff Williams. Indeed, attracting the appropriate publicity almost seems to determine current government policies regarding many different issues. Which job creation “efforts” is Mr. Williams trying to suggest (see his post above)?

  7. Cliff Williams says:

    Simply put, Julian, government should support and incentivize the growth of small business. Manufacturing, retail, food and anything else that is currently imported. Government payrolls of infrastructure and other building programs are “short-term” projects that do not create long-term employment. As soon as the gov-funded bridge is built the job is over. Government must cut waste AND create long term private job growth.
    The “efforts” would be in tax abatement for job creation, every created job would reduce the company tax burden by XX% and so on. The scale would be graduated. (I wasn’t saying you were not British in the earlier post…I meant to say that Richard should not assume that you are British but read the thought behind your comment)

  8. Quite so. Incidentally, President Obama has made some futile attempts at “job creation” using government “works programmes”. This mostly involves manual work, and for a temporary duration only. Our country should not go down that path. That would also be a likely Labour alternative, in the nightmare scenario of a Labour government back in power.

  9. Alfred says:

    There seems so little to choose between the three main parties. I wonder how many there are, like me, who have left the Conservative Party for UKIP. From the results at the last election I would say, many, but the Conservative leadership just don’t seem to be paying any attention and don’t even seem to care. The Coalition is “The Problem” now.

  10. I understand and respect Alfred’s point of view, but do not see UKIP as a viable alternative at present. Regarding some important issues, UKIP are simply too libertarian. Far better, would be a return to traditional Conservative Party policies. In particular, we need Christian values to be applied in the context of modern society.

  11. Alfred says:

    Julian L Hawksworth January 10, said “… but do not see UKIP as a viable alternative at present”

    However, the choice is easy. Is it for a barely viable UKIP or one of three parties in whom all trust has gone, lies and deceit reign and which seem determined to hand the last vestiges of government over to an unelected, unaccountable and corrupt EU Commission.

    For all its faults, and there are very many, and until something better comes along, UKIP is the only alternative to the lies and deceit exhibited by all three main parties, especially for someone who wants to see Christian values applied, IMO.

  12. PA says:

    It would appear that should the Conservative party become the Liberal Democrats de Jure instead of de facto even the grotesquely flexible consciences of the so called Tory euro-seceptics would be stretched too far.

  13. Cliff Williams says:

    It is as difficult to create and organize a new party (as the Tea Party quite nearly has) as it is to take over and correct the course of the Conservative Party. A third, and much easier, opportunity is to take a loosely formed and weak opposition party such as UKIP and get elected to the leadership, correctly direct the weak party into a viable option by applying truly conservative principals. This takes time, money and work but it requires less of all three than either of the first two options.

  14. Your options may well be the best, although strong leadership alone would not be enough to attract a meaningful proportion of the electorate to vote for it. Even with genuinely Conservative principles, a new party would need sufficient media support. Without that, fewer political donations would be made – and widespread public support could be even more difficult to attract.

  15. I agree that the majority of UK citizens have lost trust in the three main political parties. Some UKIP supporters (and others) continue to hold the delusion, that our country should adopt a “liberal” policy towards narcotics. In reality of course, this could potentially bring society slightly backwards to the sixties – when many peopled attempted to apply principles such as “free love”. A more or less “anything goes” approach to taking drugs, formed part of that wayward lifestyle for many. One suspects that proponents of this absurd notion to “liberalise” access to drugs, are simply chasing the votes of misguided young people (for example).

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