Aristotle said that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” But what happens when all the Parts are rotten?
In the late 1970s it was the Liberals under David Steel who broke the Lab-Lib Pact which began the fall of the then Labour government. They voted with Margaret Thatcher to bring down the Labour government in the famous no-confidence debate in 1979 which led to 18 years of Conservative government. The liberals were no friends of the Labour movement then, and they are no friends of the Labour movement now.
In 2010 the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg entered into coalition with the Tories to form the first coalition government that Britain had experienced since the war. That government imposed some of the most brutal austerity measures on the people of this country with massive cuts to the public sector, austerity imposed on services, and sluggish growth that has had devastating consequences for communities up and down the land. That cruel government, led by the Tories with all their harsh and unnecessary measures, was only able to implement their policies with the support of their lackeys in the Liberal Democrats.
Jo Swinson MP, the new Thatcherite champion of the centrists, was a key part of that government. She voted enthusiastically on successive occasions for some of the most regressive and right wing measures this country has seen in recent years. The leader of the yellow Tories has revealed yet again her desire to do all she can to prevent the advance of a real future for the many by ruling out any alliance with the Labour Party. This should come as no surprise, as it is the tradition of the Liberal Democrats to fight the Labour Party in favour of Tory governments.
The Liberal Democrats have been shown to hold the British people in contempt. In 2010 Nick Clegg promised students that the Liberals would oppose any increase in tuition fees. But in government, he, Jo Swinson and the Liberals voted with the Tories to increase tuition fees up to £9,000. It was Labour who stood up for students by opposing these measures.
Our NHS was sliced up and marketised in 2012 under the hated Lansley reforms. Who propped up the Tories and voted this through? The Liberal Democrats.
The Liberal Democrats are some of the most duplicitous campaigners on the ground. Their infamous leaflets and questionable bar charts and vicious local campaigns are the bete noire of many local Labour parties. Around the country Liberals fight against Labour Councillors and activists who are doing their level best to protect communities against Tory austerity and deliver a Labour vision of the future.
The Labour movement should be united it its utter determination not only to beat the Tories at the next general election, but also to crush the upstart yellow Tories who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Nobody in the Parliamentary Labour Party should be flirting with the Liberal Democrats when it is their mission to replace Labour. We have to beat them at the ballot box and not collaborate with them. When the Liberals are so determined to replace Labour, why should we open the door to them?
Labour is the only national party capable of beating the Conservatives when the general election comes. Given the government only has a majority of 1 that election could happen at any moment and it is important we are prepared. It will be a general election fought on the battle lines created by Brexit. The Liberals are doing all they can to perpetuate the divisions in this country rather than working to bring the country together. Labour has taken a noble path of seeking to bring the country together around a common vision for the future.
While both remain supporters and leave supporters can sometimes be frustrated that Labour has not always been entirely clear as to whether it is a remain or leave party, its intentions are honourable. It is the job of political parties to heal wounds and unite our people. If our country is to prosper this objective must be the core guide to developing a policy and a programme for government. Seeking to re-run the referendum, as the Liberals wish to do, will not achieve that aim of unity.
Labour must continue to focus on its radical programme for government that inspired millions to vote for it in 2017. From building council housing to tackling climate change, Labour is the only party capable of transforming this country in the interests of the many and not the few. Whenever the Liberals have had the opportunity, they have wreaked havoc on this country and punished the poor. Labour cannot allow these charlatans to determine the course of events, we must expose them for what they are, Tories dyed yellow.
By Brendan Chilton