So The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election has passed with what should be said was a predictable result and not the flooring that some thought the Lib Dems would suffer, given the bad press we are getting.
Rather than reflect on the by-election I have addressed the reason Lib Dems are in the Coalition Government.
There has been a lot of criticism of Liberal Democrats in the last 8 months, being called yellow Tories etc. but was there really any alternative, given the result of the General Election. Below is a simplistic view but shows why Lib Dems had no real alternative, for the good of the Country, in my opinion.
We could debate all day, year etc. whether we will regret the decision, we will not, as some have suggested, fade into oblivion, but I think, from the options available, we were always going to be up against it.
1. Minority Tory Govt. – short lived, no confidence from city, bad for uk, bad for economy, bad for party finances.
Lib Dems criticised for letting Country down as the economy crashes, press have field day at our expense for not having the conviction to save the UK finances etc. (but we could say what we like from Opposition) We would also have lost seats in a short parliament and Autumn election.
2. Minority Tory Govt with agreements on certain votes – short lived, no confidence from city, bad for uk, bad for economy, bad for party finances.
Lib Dems criticised for letting Country down as the economy crashes, press have field day at our expense for not having the conviction to save the UK finances etc. (but we could say what we like from Opposition) and get support for a limited amount of our manifesto.
3. Rainbow Coalition – slated by press as Govt of losers, relying on minority parties, uncertain of reaction from city, bad for economy.
Lib Dems criticised for breaking a pre-election promise of talking to the Party with the largest amount of votes first. Much infighting on policies with disagreements with minority party’s that would probably end the coalition early (blamed on Lib Dems). No public confidence, Labour since their leadership election have admitted they need to rebuild.
4. Tory/Lib Dem Coalition – liable to last full term, confidence from City, good for majority of UK, good for economy, good for party finances.
The only viable option and the promise through the coalition agreement that Lib Dems would get a substantial number of Manifesto policies passed.
5. Was there a number 5?
Yes there has had to be some painful U-turns, but at least thus far UK plc is surviving…
I realise quite a bit of the above is subjective, however I feel from comments on Twitter over the last 8 months I am not too far from reality.
In my opinion…