Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Coalition makers: listen to historians!

Well, you can't say that I didn't tell you so.

Chiming in with what I said on Friday, most commentators now suspect that the coalition's days are numbered, and among Cameroons as well as those on the Left. Maybe it's a big number. One year. Two years. But very few serious commentators now think it'll last until May 2015. It might. But the odds are now against. The Lib Dems are drifting Labour's way - too late to save themselves, in all probability, but maybe soon enough to save something, anything, from the wreckage.

What did I say back in December 2010? That the likelihood of coalition for the Liberal Democrats was 'acrimony, split, electoral defeat'. After their leader's extraordinary stay-away from one of the most important and historic Westminster debates in years, and his obvious profound pain at the destruction of lifelong dreams and goals, can you gainsay that?

What did I say back in May 2010? That 'Nick Clegg would be crazy to go into a formal coalition with the Conservatives'. Given that he now seems to be trapped in the most neo-liberal and right-wing government the UK has had in the modern era, does anyone fancy debating this one? I can't hear you at the back.

The lesson? I'd listen to public policy historians before you take fateful political steps, if I were you.

1 comment:

  1. I think this may be a little premature. Europe was always likely to cause trouble for the coalition, but it's also an area where the Lib Dems have limited room for manoeuvre. Thanks largely to our spectacularly mendacious press, public opinion is now much closer to the Tories' position on Europe, and no Lib Dem in their right minds is going to risk an election on this.

    Ironically, the more unpopular the Lib Dems become, the more they have to cleave to the coalition. The masochism strategy, by which the Lib Dems trade easy popularity for credibility as a party of government, may still run its course.