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    Having desperately worked for a hung parliament on several occasions and certainly the goal of PR means they are almost inevitable, it would be a bit silly to deny the democratic legitimacy.

    Does a coalition with the Conservatives feel right? Well it did not seem so at first - but recognize the numbers for a simple Lib Dem/Lab coalition would not work. Previous experience of such arrangements when the Liberals shored up a minority Labour government are also unfortunate.

    On the other hand, Labour lost all legitimacy and at the end had so destroyed traditional freedoms that I was glad to see the back of them. Just a couple of examples - why should somebody arrested but never even charged have their DNA profile and other biometric data permanently stored? Why should everybody be (in practice) forced to carry a biometric ID card at all times including, for example, to pay with credit or debit card in a store? Their sulky pouting and posturing about loosing power is made all the more hypocritical by their failure to disclose what their real economic policies would have been - remember they concealed the extent of the deficit until the famous "There's no money left" note on the Treasury desk when they handed over.

    Strangely, the coalition seems to have done more to improve social justice by reducing income taxes on the poor, raising them on the super rich and addressing real problems like the lack of primary school places in the first 100 days than Labour did in their last 100 months. As for openness, there have been regular "town hall" type meetings around the country since the election held by both Cameron and Clegg, unheard of in British politics outside of election periods.

    The results of a survey on Liberal Democrat Voice are not up yet but one of the questions related to the next general election. I suspect most will want to see the two parties standing on their own manifestos in 2015 and for there to be no repeat of the Coupon Election of 1918 which led to over half a century of decline in the Liberal Party.

    "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

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    •  Wasn't questioning the democratic legitimacy (1+ / 0-)
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      of the coalition. I also support PR and was hoping for a hung parliament, just not this result. I also do not dispute the attack on civil liberties under Labour, and did not support them. I am skeptical that the Tories will be taking down all the security cameras though. I am no fan of New Labour by any means; I am more Old Labour along the lines of Tony Benn rather than Foote.

      Actually, the deficit was smaller than was suspected; in fact it was £6bn lower. I do not accept any of the main parties argument that the deficit needs to be cut now and by the amount proposed. The income tax cuts on the poor are for people earning less than £7500; I certainly preferred the Lib Dems manifesto pledge of £10,000. Honestly, how can you tax people earning in the bottom two income deciles anyhow? It is criminal.

      I am very worried about the cuts on social services and the welfare state; the poorest in our society that cannot afford to lose benefits and services are those that will be most affected. Moreover, in the current economic climate, increased unemployment and benefit cutbacks will undermine economic growth. Unfortunately, we are not all in this together. Wealthy people do not rely on the public sector, they can cover their needs accessing the private sector; this is not the case for the poor, working poor (the vast majority of the poor in the UK, if we exclude the elderly, are the working poor, income deciles 2 and 3; these are mostly women in part-time jobs in the service sector), working class and even the middle classes.

      I found it rather odd that when the majority of cuts were announced, the Tories hid behind the Lib Dems.

      I wasn't trying to trap you, it was an honest question as I do not know many Lib Dems and was curious how people in the party viewed the coalition. I've been wanting to ask you what you thought as I think you are intelligent and you could provide me some insights. thanks!

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 06:05:55 PM PDT

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      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
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        Woody, NY brit expat

        As far as I can gather from the meetings I have been to since, the general impression is one of cautious optimism. This is mostly because at least at the Cameron end of the Tory party, there does seem to be a real willingness to co-operate honestly and quite generously.

        What is also striking is the contrast between the social policies of New Labour and what is coming out of the Cameron camp, to some extent reflected in the main diary. It's long been my opinion that the Blairites had a feudal view of their voters. Pay them lip service every few years but actually have very little idea of their real concerns and living conditions. With notable exceptions like Diane Abbott, the vast majority of Labour MPs seem to have spent their entire lives according to a career plan to get them into Parliament for no other reason than to be an MP or better a minister. Any idea of being there to improve the lot of the ordinary person seems to have gone out of the window and replaced with an arrogance of power. This enormous chasm between their activists and ordinary members and their MPs was highlighted before the Iraq war and they seem to be continuing to lose members. These remarks by their former deputy leader, now Lord Prescott, seem to bear up this view.

        If New Labour has taken over the mantle of Thatcherism, Cameron seems to have moved back to the "one nation" traditions of people like Rab Butler. As I described, this is tied in with the idea of noblesse oblige that Cameron would have been taught at his expensive private school. (BTW, this tradition has also bred some of the notable left wing giants like Tony Benn or the Amazing Disappearing Lord Stansgate as I like to refer to him because of his reduction of his full name to its present form.)

        Most obvious target for discontent within the Lib Dems is the choice of AV as the voting system for the Commons which is far from a proportional system. That may be offset to some extent when we see the proposals for the elections to the Lords. From what I can glean, most seem to see AV as a foothold to a further change to a more proportional system (dammit, I have had to wait 40 years for this change, the younguns in the Party can wait a bit longer to get nearer the ideal).

        I think the "get the worst over first and recover politically later" is a risk but may well work providing the current "all in it together" mantra can be seen to be a reality. There seems to be a strong but quiet mood in favour of a radical change in British politics, quite likely in reaction to the expenses scandals of the last Parliament. It seems to be rather deeper than the heady but quite frivolous early days of 1997 when there had been a similar general mood of get the old guard out. (Or as I prefer to quote

        You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.

        I'm finding it quite interesting to speculate whether the country is entering a new 'old' system of government. Little remembered is that the switch and switch about has only been a feature of UK governments for the past 60 or so years. In the similar period before that coalitions and national governments were the norm.

        It's really quite strange and rather comforting to see the people you know quite well and know have real concerns and political philosophies sitting on the Government benches.(Let's face it, Lib Dems had very little real prospect of being in government unless by the sort of electoral fluke we had this year so they did not go into politics for the personal power)

        Now through the election campaign Clegg clearly stated that in the event of a hung Parliament, the party with the most seats should be given the first opportunity to form an administration and that he would talk to either of the other two main ones in this event. Well he certainly stuck to his word which rather surprised most people (that a politician actually did what he said he would) It was also constitutionally and democratically the correct thing to do. I cannot but feel that even if it all ends in tears two or three years down the line, the restorations of the civil liberties I mentioned and the honorable way the party has acted so far will have been worthwhile.

        "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Aug 24, 2010 at 08:03:53 PM PDT

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