Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Dangerous times for the Lib Dems.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 19, 2010 in British Politics |

One false step...

One false step...

The recent polls showing the Lib Dems soaring in the polls (One poll put them in first place!) means that the party is now the target party for the Tories. On top of that, the Lib Dems are weak on three key issues.

The first is Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Clegg has hit a hot button with the cost of Trident, but he’s failed to follow up with details as to how the Lib Dems will keep nuclear capacity with less cost. Unilateral nuclear disarmament is not where the British people are, and he’s left the party vulnerable to that charge.

Europe is the second. It’s easy for the Tories and their media mates to set the Lib Dems up as Euro Fanatics. Clegg could kill the issue by promising a British referendum on EU membership, something even Cameron hasn’t done, and something which will put the Tory leader under huge pressure.

The Gordon Question. The big stick for the Tories is whether a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for Labour. Clegg needs to firm up on what he’ll do in a hung parliament. Perhaps say that it would be untenable to keep Gordon Brown as prime minister in that situation?

The stakes could not be higher, because if Labour and/or the Lib Dems end up in a majority, then the Alternative Vote could be on the way in, and that means that it will be impossible for the Tories to win a future election without appealing to a larger section of the British people, something they have failed to do since the mid 1970s. At her height even Mrs Thatcher failed to convince less than 44% of them to vote for her. The Tories don’t like having to bring the little people along with them.     

6 Comments

Stephen Spillane
Apr 19, 2010 at 7:45 am

Just a quick comment on the Lib Dems and Europe. Despite all the Pro-EU stuff in the manifesto (something that would have me voting Lib Dem in the UK) they do promise an in/out referendum the next time there is a treaty revision.

From the manifesto:
“The European Union has evolved signifi cantly since the last public vote
on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain
committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs
up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.”

The Lib Dems are the only party committing to this referendum!


 
french derek
Apr 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

On Britain’s nuclear deterrent the real question is “whose deterrent is it anyway?”. It can’t be used unless Uncle Sam says so; and the present “Uncle Sam” is Barack Obama – a man committed to reducing the world’s nuclear weapons store.

At least here in France, we still have control of our own weapons – even though I think they should be put on the table for a reduction, along with Russia, the USA and other nations (eg Israel?).


 
Jason O
Apr 20, 2010 at 6:48 am

It is extraordinary. Britain doesn’t even own the missiles, which they lease from the US. Curiously, if the EU asked for the same sort of control over the “independent” UK deterrent, the Tories would go ballistic! (Pardon the pun)


 
Leon J Williams
Apr 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I still don’t see why this is dangerous times for the Lib Dems.

Without the tv debates Lib Dems would have been a distant 3rd place, they had nothing to lose and in reality they still don’t.

Trident should be scrapped and Britain should adopt the Euro.


 
Jason O
Apr 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

Sorry Leon, I meant in the context of maintaining their stunning surge.


 

[...] was a lot of build-up to the second TV live debate for other reasons. Jason O’Mahoney points out that the Liberal Democrats had done so well in the first debate that they now had a lot to [...]


 

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