As a Lib Dem Westminster candidate I’ve been quiet while the negotiations have been underway because coalition talks tend not to lend themselves to the 24hr news cycle and an information vaccuum. My natural inclinations were towards a Progressive Alliance but you do what you can with the hand you are dealt and the electorate have dealt us a corker.
I grew up in a Scottish mining town so remember all too well the carnage that a previous Conservative government caused. I only hope that the Lib Dems can moderate the more right wing policies of the Conservatives and help protect the most vulnerable in the financial cuts to come. It appears we have managed to get our £10k tax allowance, no change in inheritence tax and the pupil premium. The Lib/Tory coalition will also have twelve Scottish MPs which should help combat the worst of the SNP charges of Scotland being ruled by a London government without a mandate.
I’m in no doubt that in the weeks and months ahead both SNP and Labour alike will try and lay the blame for everything negative that is about to happen on Nick Clegg. I can only imagine that Alex Salmond will not be happy with the Lib Dem/Tory pact as it sets Labour as the official opposition while at the same time giving the government 12 Scottish MPs. The SNP are going to need a strategy re-think if they are to remain relevant.
For those who voted for Lib Dem as a way of keeping the Conservatives out of power all I can do is reiterate Nick Clegg’s words last night:
“I want to assure you that I wouldn’t have entered into this agreement unless I was genuinely convinced that it offers a unique opportunity to deliver the kind of changes you and I believe in.
“So I hope you will keep faith with us, I hope you will now let us prove to you that we can serve you and this country with humility, with fairness at the heart of everything we do and with total dedication to the interests and livelihoods of everyone in Great Britain.”
Now the Liberals are back in government after over 65 years we need to get down to showing how effective we can be in protecting the most vulnerable in our country and in reversing years of Labour’s authoritarian policies. Hopefully the fixed term parliament will also mean that although it may be a shotgun marriage, it doesn’t have to be an autumn divorce.