Ever since I began to form my own political thoughts, I have been a Labour supporter. Over most of my lifetime, I have found natural allies amongst LibDem supporters. We tended to believe in similar things and have similar values. We are the broad church that makes up the left in British politics.
Throughout the New-Labour years, many of my LibDem friends maintained a kind of moral superiority. Noting the Iraq war, the poor civil-liberties record, treatment of asylum seekers and the closeness of the government to big business as reasons why New Labour weren’t really a left-of-centre party. How they were the true-believers if you will, not willing to compromise principal in order to gain power.
I suspect I am not alone in tolerating this superiority complex in my LibDem friends because I knew they were right. I have however remained a Labour supporter because of many things that I believe in and because I knew that the Tories would be so much worse. Here are a few of the reasons; The minimum wage, the Human Rights Act, systematic use of tax and benefits to arrest (though, sadly not reverse) the widening inequality in our society, Kosova, massive investment in our NHS which has made a real and tangible difference…
So, after 13 years of accusing Labour of selling-out in order to get power, what has happened since May? Well, on the basis of ‘stopping Britain becoming Greece’ they have abandoned most of their pre-election policies in forming a coalition with the Tories.
It’s not the coalition per-se that I object to - although I do wonder how things would be if Cameron was leading a minority government - it’s the full-throated, unflinching, shameless defence of blatantly unfair policies.
It is clear that the Tories need to create a narrative that ignores the international banking crisis and blames all the country’s woes on Labour and the public sector, in order to carry out an ideologically-driven program of destruction of the public sector. That’s what post-Thatcher conservatism is all about, except that the LibDems are helping them to do it.
It is entirely true that Labour did not live up to all I hoped they would but I have never been ashamed of voting for them, because on balance I think it was the right choice and we on the left are appalling at celebrating our successes. However I am profoundly glad that I didn’t vote LibDem in May (I nearly did as a tactical vote): The smug, patronising, hypocrisy of Nick Clegg and his merry supporters is unbearable.
P.S. I may actually lose it next time I hear someone compare our national economy to a house-hold budget.
Cameron and Clegg insist on doing so. They are either stupid or attempting to mislead.