I think it is right to accept that there are many LibDems who genuinely support this budget and coalition and see it as in some way fulfilling their ‘progressive’ vision. However, for many LibDems, rightly, the coalition gets under their skin. Consider Warren Bradley, the LibDem oppositional leader at Liverpool council, who has just commented on how he felt “physically sick” over the cancelling of BSF. He added how LibDems face wipe out in the North by Labour and that there are many LibDems involved with the Liverpool council who are planning to leave. However, regardless of his own views, and others around him, he is planning to stay put and ‘tough’ it out.
Then consider the VAT amendment that Andrew George put forward, to then go and vote against it himself: something which I have been told resulted in a many angry voice being hurdled at George in his constituency. There is as much logic to his actions as there is in the ConDem’s economic policies. Furthermore, only 2 of the LibDems voted against the VAT’s principle (what the amendment was about), and when considering the uproar amongst the LibDems, this is a relatively small protest against a very regressive policy.
What my point is, there have been several LibDems that seem to be coming out and speaking against the coalition, but have they acted upon these harsh words? In simple words, no. There has been not one MP to cross the floor, Kennedy is as quite as a lamb – and has done nothing really to help counteract the ConDem’s regressive nature. Only Kennedy voted against the budget in the first place, so as I have said before – it rather undermines the LibDems criticisms of the coalition, as they could hardly of expected a ConDem government to be all too much different from what it is.
If a party you are in repulses you to the point that you feel physically sick, you really have to ask yourself why the hell you are in that party and supporting it in government. Again, I think it comes back to a central reason for why the ConDem government formed – that of power. Many of them are too scared to cross the floor as they would find it hard to join Labour, and the smaller (ideologically closer) party of the Greens provides them less of a chance of getting re-elected (power again).
Well regardless, there will be a many worried LibDem MP by the next election – it is all well and good to criticise the government, but when words are all that amount from this, well you wont be viewed in a much better light when the next election occurs. People will remember that only 2 LibDems voted against the VAT in principle, and that the LibDems presided over a budget that is being condemned by intellectuals all over the world (now even the IMF) with little opposition.