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It’s been a few days since the results of council, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont elections, along with the all-important AV referendum, were revealed. The dust is settling, and it’s time to offer my take on the results.
The recent elections, despite appearances, were good for the progressive Left-wing parties in Britain. The Liberal Democrats suffered badly, and the people rejected AV, but the future may still be bright for us Spineless Liberals.
Let me explain….
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A letter in the Guardian from Sunday, arguing the main reasons why any British progressive, regardless of party politics, must support AV – summary offered here by the Letters From Europe blog.
If you are a centre-lefty like myself, just remember this – the Tories have regularly dominated politics in Britain, despite only being elected with 50% of the popular vote in 1900 and 1931. Every other time, left-wing infighting between Labourites, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and the Left Nationalists of the Celtic nations, have led to the Conservatives benefiting. We can’t let that continue any longer….
via Letters from Europe
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10.15pm: The government has won by 557 votes to 13 – a majority of 544.
via Politics blog + Commons Libya debate – live | Politics | guardian.co.uk.
Now that’s a majority and a half. Clearly it shows widespread support for the intervention in Libya… but we also have to note the real tone of the debate, and it was far from positive. Reading through a few of the comments, it shows that people are uneasy. With a British submarine, alone with American ships, launching missiles at 20 targets on the coast (Gaddafi‘s missile defence system, clearing the way for the pilots), we’ve become involved more than perhaps some MPs expected. The Arab League is also wavering in support, condemning the bombing of civilians – despite the fact that intervening in a near-civil war was always going to result in civilian casualties, especially as Gaddafi’s supporters were, he claimed, willing to be bussed in to key targets to act as human shields. The prospect of assassination of Gaddafi, hinted at by Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox, is outrageous to many – frankly, I find that speaking openly of it is a foolish move. If you want to assassination someone, you don’t bloody tell Fleet Street. At least the Israeli’s have the common sense not to admit it if they do it. Having said that, assassinating Gaddafi is foolish in-and-of-itself. Martyrdom for Gaddafi is not an advantage to anyone – forcing him out may be our best option, but openly killing him. If he does chose to go down with the ship, so be it. Good riddance. But we can’t openly support it, or plan for it. Our legal mandate is to defend civilians, not assassinate politicians.
John Baron (Basildon & Billericay)
Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley)
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
Barry Gardiner (Brent North)
Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green)
John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington)
Linda Riordan (Halifax)
Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
Mike Wood (Batley & Spen)
Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion)
Mark Durkan (Foyle)
Margaret Ritchie (Down South)
Labour’s Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran) and Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) acted as tellers for the noes.
An excellent summary of the debate can also be found here :-http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2011/03/unease-in-the-commons-as-mps-debate-libya-action/
On the one hand, I want to defend my party. I want to show the world that the Lib Dems and Clegg in particular don’t deserve this hatred, that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, that this won’t hurt the poor as badly as people think.
On the other, I want every one of those MPs who breaks their pledge to suffer – especially those who now drive around in Ministerial cars. I want to blame them for trebling tuition fees in one fell swoop, instead of doing away with them altogether, a platform the LibDems have held for years, and garnered many student votes because of it.
I won’t bother fully enunciating the vitriol my student half feels. Just look at the TV, on facebook, down at your Uni’s student union…it’s everywhere. There’s no point in me blogging about it.
So instead, I’ll warn my beloved Lib Dems. The ones I have defended for years against allegations of being the useless third party, that we’d never be able to taste power, that we were irrelevant. Constantly, comedians wondering who Nick Clegg was. The news side-lining us. All in the past now.
Don’t turn your back on the students. We are the basis for victories in too many constituencies to alienate our support.