Monday, 19 April 2010

Lib Dems, Lib Dems Everywhere...

As a Tory supporting Unionist, I'm a tad perturbed by the strong showing the Liberal Democrats have received in the polls following Nick Clegg's performance on the first Leadership Debae last Thursday night. I watched the programme, along with 10 million others, and his performance was quite good, but I'm not sure it warrants the wave of enthusiasm it appears to have stirred. David Cameron started well (his opening statement was by far the best, but he plateaued, as it were, fairly quickly after that) and Brown just came across as slightly frightening.

I've always rather liked Clegg in some ways, as he is demonstrably more 'liberal' as opposed to 'social democrat' in political sentiment, but a vote for his party is not a good idea - the last thing the United Kingdom requires at this time is a hung Parliament, with all the opportunities for division, political rancour, instability, uneasy coalitions and every chance of another General Election within 12 months. That's what happened in 1974 (and even after the second election that year, Labour only had a majority of three, which vanished within two years.) No, this is a time for political stability, and while I may understand the desire in some quarters for a hung Parliament (witness the letters column in today's Times) I definitely don't buy it.

Of course, leaving all that aside, I'm genuinely a little concerned about what the Lib Dems would do if given their first sniff of power since 1945, when they were part of the wartime National Government, not least regarding their taxation and foreign policies, not to mention defence policy - in an unstable world, the United Kingdom, a major player on the world stage, key member of NATO and (whether we like it or not), the European Union, cannot be left undefended when the threat from a rogue state remains real. The Lib Dem factor is a dangerous one for our country at an uncertain time. Clegg may be likeable, Vince Cable may be an economic guru, but I still wouldn't vote for them. That, thankfully, is one element of American politics (the 'likeability' factor) which doesn't necessarily carry over to this side of the Atlantic. The polls showing the Lib Dems doing so well are just that - polls. The old SDP enjoyed a major bounce in the early 1980s - it finished a dismal third on election night, albeit only two percentage points behind the Labour Party at their absolute nadir. Let's keep our heads high for a while yet...

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