Click on the bar chart to enlarge it
A quite remarkable change in Lib Dem fortunes with both Tories and Labour doing really badly.
The left of British politics has always been factionalised with numerous socialist parties coming and going, the Labour Party often engaged in vicious internal warfare (as they are at present) and the Lib Dems, in recent years, having been pulled towards economic rather than social liberalism. Of course looking back a while the SDP also failed to ‘break the mould’ as it became split by the ‘Owen’ factor amongst other things.
The lack of unity on the left has always been a problem and our warped first past the post electoral system has also helped to put many Tory Governments in power who have nothing like majority popular support; just like the present one.
What beggars belief therefore is why when Labour have grabbed power for the odd short period they have not pursued electoral reform and a fair voting system. I suppose the last Labour government was too arrogant and thought their ‘New Labour’ guise would last and be popular for generations. Well it wasn’t so Labour went further to the right in opposition, even openly bashing the poor along the way. But as they became labeled Red Tories the electorate said stuff that we may as well have proper Tories.
The Lib Dems also discredited themselves by lying about Tuition Fees in 2010. Nick Clegg thought the electorate would forgive him. They didn’t. Indeed, because many of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 thought he was a straight forward chap whom they could trust his backing out of a clear promise caused them to drop him and his party like a stone. They expected other parties to tell porkies but having been persuaded the Lib Dems were trustworthy they turned against them big time. Rebuilding that lack of trust in the Lib Dems is probably Tim Farron’s biggest challenge.
The Greens tried lurching to left after 2010 and were the most socialist of the mainstream parties at the last general election but of course this move set their traditional environmentalist sect against an upstart socialist sect. Socialism and environmentalism have never sat comfortably together in my experience. Socialists on Merseyside that I have come across have always seemed to be very much disinterested in environmental issues.
But within the left there is at the heart of so many of its difficulties one major factor that causes the disunity which the Tories always benefit from. Many left wing sects think they are absolutely right and all other left wing sects are utterly wrong. Such tribalism then sets these sects against each other and the Tories win again whilst the left debates, often viciously, who is right and who is wrong. In differing ways I think that the emergence of the SDP and the rise of Tony Blair were reactions to the self destructive nature of the left.
The SDP failed and despite huge initial success Blair’s New Labour failed because he wandered to far right, got involved in the appalling Iraq war and probably laid the foundations for Labour to be cat called ‘Red Tories’.
The real danger that the left faces now is that we could have a seriously right wing Tory Party in power for a generation with UKIP effectively pulling their levers. Is this not enough of a nightmare to sober up the left of British politics?
I increasingly despair about the present Tory Government. Just look at all the massive down sides of Cameron gaining an overall majority:-
* Social housing to be sold off when there is a huge shortage of affordable rented housing.
* Cutting back on sustainable green initiatives and putting future generations at risk from even greater climate change problems.
* Attacking trade unions who brought about many social advances that we all (including Tories) now take for granted.
* Trying to reduce your and my rights and in doing so making the state less accountable to us all.
* Hitting the most vulnerable in society with massive welfare cuts whilst the official Labour opposition stood back and abstained!.
* Taking food from children in our schools who otherwise may not get a decent meal at home.
* All but ignoring the appalling refugee crisis across Europe
This is an appallingly selfish Tory Government.
I want this to be the ‘greenest government ever’ trumpeted Cameron when the Coalition Government came to power in 2010.
Well yes it was probably a reasonable aspiration back then but only because the Lib Dems forced the Tories down a credible ‘green’ route.
However, since the Tories were given an overall majority by the electorate in 2015 they have done nothing but row back on all the environmental steps forward made in the previous 5 years ‘over their dead body’ by those bastard green Lib Dems.
Instead of ratcheting up the green policies as we need to do to save our world from environmental catastrophe they have been doing just the opposite! At best sitting back and saying we will reach our green targets (which were too low to start with) and at worst putting future generations at huge risk of that environmental catastrophe in its many forms. And all because Tory leaders think that Tory voters don’t care much for environmental issues and Cameron’s wafer thin House of Commons majority only cares about making the rich richer.
This is what the Lib Dems wanted to do to tackle climate change at the 2015 general election.
Five green laws:
A Nature Bill: key measures include legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the Right to Roam and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.
A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill: key measures include building on the Green Deal with a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain’s households. We will legislate to boost renewable and district heating programmes and heat saving standards.
A Zero Waste Britain Bill: key measures include establishing a “Stern Report” on resource use, with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable landfill.
A Zero Carbon Britain Bill: key measures include introducing a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the Green Investment Bank and banning electricity generated from unabated coal.
A Green Transport Bill: key measures include establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, only allowing low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.
Sadly, the electorate did not agree and backed a Tory party of very different views.
Also sadly Labour hardly makes any noise about environmental/green issues at a national level these days and at a local level their ‘green’ credentials are in tatters since they decided to build on Sefton’s high grade agricultural land.
So who can stop the Tory’s mad policy plan to seemingly make our world a less safe place now and for certain so for future generations? One day, and that may not be very far down the track, people will say the Tory Government of 2015 – 2020 helped to cause harm instead of trying to stop harm to our world and that is a sad reflection on our times and maybe on us all collectively for allowing such a government to be elected.
We do not deliberately put our children and their children at risk yet collectively we often vote for very short-term matters whilst ignoring the far greater threats that we should be focusing on. Damn that Daily Mail way of viewing our world.