Lib Dems - Pioneers, Victims and Heroes
I know I'm pretty much the only Lib Dem supporter left in the western hemisphere, but I'm not surprised.
It's not their fault but I don't think the general public have really understood the significance of the last election. It was the first in living memory to end up in deadlock and result in a coalition.
For us, the voters, it was new and interesting - even, possibly, exhilarating.
For the 'establishment' (the main parties, the City, the pressure groups, lobbyists, political and administrative bodies, etc... anyone with a vested interest in the status quo, and their media organs) it was a total nightmare. They bitterly resented the intrusion of a third power into UK politics and embarked on a 5-year campaign of unrestrained vilification.
Consider for a moment the Lib Dem's 'most heinous crime' - The Tuition Fees U-turn, raised in almost every article, interview or reference to Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.
Wasn't it Nelson Mandela or somebody who patiently explained that the process of negotiation is all about the BIG stuff? I paraphrase, but it's easy to negotiate on the small stuff; to tinker around at the edges. But, if negotiation is to succeed, sooner or later you have to be prepared to sacrifice the sacred stuff, the fundamental core of your beliefs stuff.
C-O-A-L-I-T-I-O-N = continuous negotiation.
Through it, to the thinly restrained fury of Tory backbenchers, the Lib Dems, a numerically almost insignificant minority in the coalition, have managed to curb many of the Tories' would be vile excesses... but eventually there has to be a price. A red line crossed.
Tories must snigger with joy every time the Tuition Fee u-turn is raised. After all, they got away with it. Nobody ever noticed the core fact...
1) The Tories wanted to cut tuition fees.
2) The Lib Dems totally DIDN'T want to cut tuition fees (as they had made clear in their manifesto, haha!)
3) The Tories cut tuition fees by forcing the Lib Dems to give way.
That last one again.
The Tories cut tuition fees.
The Lib Dem tuition fee lesson was not lost on politicians and their advisors. One coalition down and everyone is an expert now! That is why, to the extreme frustration of the media and voters, none of the parties in this election campaign will give any detail or substance to their policies. It is so they won't end up with a similar u-turn albatross around their necks when the coalition horse-trading starts, and BIG stuff has to be sacrificed.
I think we have quite a lot to thank the Lib Dems for. They've been pioneers, victims and heroes at this coalition game.