This isn’t anything that concerns most of the U.S. In fact, most of the world doesn’t care about it. But, when I was in Britain, I could never figure out why the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the Tories.
The natural alliance should have been that the Lib Dems teamed up with Labour, but the general Rupert Murdoch fueled hatred of Labour’s prime minister, Gordon Brown, and the hunger for power by Rupert Murdoch fueled flunky David Cameron were so visceral, that it was obvious that as of the next election, Brown would be out.
I was at an election party in London sponsored by a media outlet controlled by Murdoch. I talked to a Cameron supporter and asked what had Gordon Brown done wrong, and got the standard answer you get from someone on the right, “Well, what has he done right?” It’s one of those answers you have to challenge, because people who give it usually don’t know why they hate something. They just know they have to hate it. It’s the response of anyone who gets their news from a Murdoch outlet.
But, other than being clumsy as a speaker and having a personality that made Richard Nixon look like Jack Kennedy, Brown had been fairly consistent about keeping Britain out of the toilet. Social services were adequate. He was given enormous credit for his response to the global banking crisis of 2008-2009. The pound was worth double the U.S. dollar. And people weren’t regularly rioting in the streets.
So I asked the Brown hater again, really, why do people hate Brown so much, because I really didn’t understand the snarling of the anti-Gordon forces. The guy didn’t give much of an answer beyond, “what has he done right,” again, so I asked, “If Tony Blair were running under the same conditions, would Labour win?” And the guy’s reluctant answer was “Yes.”
In a rational world, when the International Monetary Fund job came open with Dominique Strauss Kahn‘s rape charge, Gordon Brown should have been a strong contender to be the new director, because the guy showed he could handle a large scale financial crisis of global implication. But the Murdoch/Cameron forces made sure he wouldn’t get the job.
Anyway, back at election night in 2010, As the votes were counted, it was clear that the Conservatives made huge gains. But they didn’t have an outright win. The Lib Dems could have formed a coalition with Labour, which would have made sense, with the understanding that Brown would be out at PM. In fact, Brown agreed to that.
But Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, sold his soul and went with the Tories.
And now, everything the Conservatives do is the polar opposite to everything the Lib Dems stand for. One of the things that mark the essence of the Lib Dem soul was the belief in working with the European Union for the betterment of the coalition. But on Friday, Cameron rejected a EU summit pact “aimed at shoring up the foundations of the euro through a new treaty spelling out, among other things, binding caps on government spending and borrowing,” according to the Washington Post.
Britain’s economy is collapsing, the pound has narrowed in value compared with the dollar, social services are being gutted and people are rioting in the streets. And Britain is now irrelevant as a voice in Europe’s future.
We can criticize Mitt Romney for not taking a stand on anything other than what someone else believes in, as long as it will get him elected. But Nick Clegg shows what the results of being a weasel will be. When the next election rolls around, the Lib Dems are dead. As Marina Hyde at the Guardian, a non-Murdoch paper, put it:
So what a radioactive irony that Clegg should make that precise dysfunctional relationship the template for the relationship between his own party and the Tories. The Lib Dems are there, but appear to have no influence. They take bucketloads of crap and wield none of the power. It’s the worst of both worlds.
This relationship dynamic may well have secured Britain’s destruction in Europe, and it has almost certainly secured the Liberal Democrats’ destruction for the foreseeable. Whether their MPs will be able to fill a taxi after the next general election is a matter of debate.
- Nick Clegg attacks Cameron’s EU treaty veto as bad for jobs and families (telegraph.co.uk)
- Can the Coalition survive David Cameron’s veto? (telegraph.co.uk)
- Nick Clegg turns fire on David Cameron over Europe veto (guardian.co.uk)
- Liberal Democrats and Europe: time to fight | Editorial (guardian.co.uk)