Sunday, 23 September 2012

When do the Lib Dems grow a pair?

The Lib Dems, this conference they're using their limited lime-light to talk about how they're for "fairer tax"; but, pantomime audience, those evil Tories just won't let that happen!

[Audience: Boooooooooooo]

It seems then that the Lib Dems are positioning themselves in to an area they know how to fight from... claiming they want things but without the power to do them. The trouble is that previously they weren't in government, and now they are.

What are we meant to take from this kind of declaration? That the Tories want to keep helping the wealthy? No shit! That's hardly a revelation now is it? No, the only thing we can take is that the Lib Dems are losing their grip on direct power, and are choosing to take a back seat.

Now, for the record, I think that the Lib Dem involvement in creating compromise in Tory legislation has been, on balance, positive. The difference between the NHS bill before and after Lib Dem involvement is significant, the progressive nature of the reforms to Higher Education fees is to be applauded, and even though the end result wasn't positive at all, the Lib Dem Lords still did a fantastic job in creating a hard time for the Tories in their welfare "reforms".

This doesn't mean the end results are perfect, but it shows that at least moderation has been a result of coalition politics.

But that, it seems, is where it ends. No commons reform, no Lords reform, no repeal of the Digital Economy Act (or the parts relating to shutting off people's internet without being found guilty of a crime), retaining the 50p tax for now, mansion tax, falling behind on Green targets...the list goes on as to the number of things that Lib Dems want and are not getting.

They can claim as much as they want that they've achieved certain things in government, but these are all things the Tories would have, in all likelihood, done anyway.

So, in light of all these failures...what's the point in sitting there and pretending you're in opposition again (aside from how comfortable it feels)?

If Lib Dems are serious about fairer tax it's time to make a stand. Are they there to make real change or to moderate the Tories? I cannot believe for a second that the country would do anything other than (generally) be happy for the Lib Dems to make such a stand right now and make it a "make or break" issue for the coalition.

I guess it's time to tell just whether the Lib Dems are actually golden, or really just yellow.