Not another blog about the CSR… (I still support Nick Clegg)


It would have been so easy this week to write a blog about the CSR’s rights and wrongs, or how it may affect people around me.

Rather than concentrate on whether the CSR was progressive, or regressive, whether it benefits families, men over women, rich over poor, whether the BBC bias was wrong for only featuring negative points etc. etc. I have decided to look at CSR from a different view.

The view I have chosen is how to approach from a Lib Dem point of view.

I don’t really need to say, but Lib Dem’s are part of the Coalition Government, and as such have to bear a part of the outcome of the CSR and its ramifications. I am sure that had the Lib Dem’s not had a hand in the CSR, it would not have been the same one as we heard from the Chancellor this week. I’ll leave you to cogitate on the sort of CSR we would have had.

There appears to be some sort of divide in the Liberal Democrat Party over some announcements, which I for one regret. I also think that questioning Nick Clegg’s leadership is for another day. The Parliament term is yet young, at the end of the five years is when to judge, let’s see how Lib Dem’s can influence the Coalition over that period.

My main thoughts then are, how would Lib Dem’s have approached the CSR if looking at it from opposition, purely hypothetical, of course. Would some members of the Party be calling Nick Clegg a Tory? Would Nick Clegg agree with ALL the Coalition’s policies?

The answer to both those questions is NO.

It is no because he would be following the Lib Dem Manifesto and not the Coalition Agreement and thereby lies the problem. I am sure that in Opposition he would have stuck to promises made in and around the manifesto, which would have appeased all/most sides of the Party. Unfortunately that option is not open to him.

The ‘grassroots’ of the Party can and should follow ‘tradition’. Yes there should be multiple wings of any Party and I make no secret of the fact that I am closer to the OB’s than the left. I do NOT however consider myself a Tory puppet. My support is for the Lib Dem’s in the Coalition as I consider that the best outcome for the Country, at this time. Yes, remind the leadership of Lib Dem roots and core beliefs, yes hold the leadership to task, but there is only so much than can give, within the Agreement.

So think again, what would the CSR have been like if Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander, Vince Cable et al had NOT been involved in the Coalition process?

I think we know!!  Liberal Democrats would have opposed it, vigourously, but then it’s easy to criticise from Opposition…

So although we probably don’t agree with all of the CSR (although reports I have read the majority of public see it as necessary) at least it has a Lib Dem influence in it.

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4 thoughts on “Not another blog about the CSR… (I still support Nick Clegg)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Not another blog about the CSR… (I still support Nick Clegg) | Rob's View (from the sidelines) -- Topsy.com

  2. I agree with what you are saying more than you realise Rob. But, there is still something to be said about making sure that we keep core promises especially when we campaigned so hard on them during the election.

    People have said many things to me about my view point on this and two things stick out. One is that we as a party cannot keep all the election pledges that we sign and in the second, in the case of tuition fees, is that it was unrealistic to make such a pledge in the first place.

    My reply is this. You cannot keep all the pledges that are offered to you as a PPC in a general election. My PPC was swamped daily with pledges from the smallest of things to the big issues like tuition fees. However, each one is sent by someone to whom that pledge is THE most important thing that they will base their vote on. Its therefore imperative that PPCs and other candidates take these pledges seriously and don’t sign every single one just to get votes.

    Secondly in the case of tuition fees, this just wasn’t a case if signing a NUS pledge. This was a cornerstone of our core policy as well as a key part of our manifesto which we said we had costed and backed up unlike the other two parties. This is why grass roots campaigners, members and activists are so upset at the u-turn. It flies in the very face of what we campaigned on so heavily and believe in at the election.

    When you campaign on fairness and ‘new politics’ you simply cannot change your mind when you get into the halls of Westminster for the first time in a generation. In doing that we look no different to the other parties still stuck in their old ways.

    If we make too many more of these u-turns, there will be a ever more growing dissent in the ranks and perhaps there will come a time for people to question Nick Clegg’s leadership. I believe the true test of this will be when the results of the May elections are known.

    As for Orange Bookers. Being a liberal means that we welcome all views within the party and perhaps this makes us more fractious than other parties when views collide. However, that liberalism of views is no justification for the blatant stamping of other views that has come from some of the Orange Book element within the party of late on social media forums such as Twitter.

    I have heard (and been called) a range of names from ‘Brainless’ to ‘knee jerk reactionary’ and even had personal incidents from life used as a justification for my views. I have seen other activists describe dissenting views as being from “Mental sandalista areas” and that they are glad they dont live in a LibDem area like that. This is simply unacceptable and in my view completely illiberal.

    The Orange Booker element behaving in this way need to realise that they are in the minority within the party and just because four of their ranks led us into coalition through the negotiations, that does not give them the right to ride roughshod over the rest of the party’s opinions, especially if that majority disagrees with them.

    They have every right to be part of this party, but they should remember our liberal values and that means accepting (and debating) all views across the board. To do otherwise makes them as tribalist as some members of other parties and we are supposed to be above all that.

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  3. ”Rather than concentrate on whether the CSR was progressive, or regressive, whether it benefits families, men over women, rich over poor, whether the BBC bias was wrong for only featuring negative points etc. etc. I have decided to look at CSR from a different view.”

    You’d have to really.

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  4. I think that I’m looking at it as I would in opposition. If we were not part of the Government and this exact CSR had been unveiled, I imagine we as a party would not be best pleased.

    To an extent though we need to reserve judgement to see how the measures are implemented. As with the budget, many of the worst bits aren’t due to kick in for a year or two. Hopefully there is still time for the Lib Dem influence to do its work.

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