Thursday, 29 April 2010

I agree with ...

One of the questions that is really popular if you are a Liberal Democrat is who will you work with in a balanced parliament. Well constitutionally the question should go to the Labour or Tory parties before it goes to the Liberal Democrats. I would be quite happy to work with anyone who has sensible policies. Wouldn't that be novel - politicians deciding how to vote on the strength of the argument rather than party political lines.

It is the other parties that can actually be seen to vacillate on this issue. "I agree with Nick" was the catchphrase of the first leader's debate, as Gordon Brown tried to recruit Nick on the spot into an anti-Tory pact, but in the second it had been supplanted by "Get real" from Gordon, and "I agree with Gordon" from David Cameron. "Get real" apparently means accepting without question an expensive like-for-like replacement of Trident even though the world is a very different place from when Trident was first developed. "Get real" should mean having a review of military spending, and we can't exclude from that review the single most important item of military spending, the one which might justify having a review in the first place.

This shows the real danger of a hung parliament - the extent to which it could draw Labour and the Tories into coalition. At the moment they can indulge in expensive fantasies while at least pretending to oppose one another. In a hung parliament fantasies would be exposed for what they are. The only way they'll be able to get things like a new Trident implemented without any debate or oversight will be by having David's "I agree with Gordon" being met increasingly by "I agree with David" from Gordon. Meanwhile, most voters would say "I agree with Nick". The only way to limit the dangers of a Lab-Con collaboration is by having a strong Liberal Democrat presence in the next parliament. Could this be the election where people actually vote for what they agree with?

Incidentally, there's lots of good "I agree with Nick" T-shirts and other merchandise out there - look at or or just Google for more. I don't get a commission from any of this, I just think it's a good enough idea to be worth mentioning.

Change the world.


  1. Michael as a Lib Dem supporter on a local public accountability basis I'd be interested to hear what your take on this is:-

  2. If you are a local Liberal Democrat supporter (or anyone else) then the easiest way to get a specific answer is to ask Stuart. I can't give a specific answer but I can tell you that Stuart is an honourable person. I can also tell you that we should have public accountability for public money. There is a proviso that we may need a period of privacy for a variety of reasons and it looks like the coalition have decided that this is one of those times.

    "Seem to suggest..." and "appears to be..." are the words of a journalist who is not sure what is going on. So let's not be hasty to reach a conclusion. Roger Mace also has an axe to grind. Sorry to mix my metaphors but he took his ball home a few weeks ago and must feel left out because he is not playing the cabinet game.

    My final point is that a leader of a coalition council is subject to the decisions made by the council. The article is trying to put the blame onto Stuart. Apart from the typo on the first line, this article is not well written and is biased. Sorry I can't be more specific but I suspect that even if you don't ask,it won't take long to find out.