On Being a Government Supporter 120

It appears very probable now we will have a Tory/Lib Dem coalition. That would put me in the extraordinary position of supporting the government, for the first time in my life.

I would still much prefer the Lib Dems to remain in opposition. To a large extent that is for pragmatic reasons – I very much fear a coalition with the Tories will be electorally disastrous for the Lib Dems. But will I resign from the party? No, I won’t.

Part of the reason for this is my revulsion at the list of dreadful authoritarian New Labour figures who have been coming forward to rubbish any Lib/Lab deal. David Blunkett, John Reid, Jack Straw – these people truly are enemies of liberty and I find them more repulsive than any of the Tories, even Jacob Rees Mogg.

The proof, of course, will be in what the new government actually does. I do not view AV as an improvement on FTPT, and it appears the Tories will not touch the real reform of STV. But there are other areas of democratic reform that would be real achievements – fixed term parliaments appear on the cards.

But what about an elected House of Lords? A House of Lords fully elected by STV might be a way of breaking the negotiating deadlock, with the Commons remaining on FTPT for now. But just how attached are the Tories to the patronage of appointing their donors to the House of Lords? Pretty attached, I imagine.

On the economy, I tend to the libertarian side myself and favour spending cuts more radical than anything we are likely to get, particularly in local government where bureaucracy and useless departments proliferate and pay scales are much higher than equivalent jobs in the national civil service.

You may be surprised, for example, that my views of the Sharon Shoesmith affair are that she was unfairly treated, that it is ludicrous that we should imagine government can stop all murder and evil, that the large majority of social welfare, youth and community oriented jobs in local government should simply be cut as they do no good, and that the real scandal is that the woman was on a remuneration package similar to that of the Permanent Under Secretary of the Treasury.

If you ask me how to rein back the deficit, I would say that you can make a start by looking at the career of Bill Taylor, a full time Labour Party apparatchik who made a fat living his entire career out of various Polly Toynbee type aspects of taxpayer funded bullshit – and rakes in even more now by doing it on a consultancy basis. Read through Taylor’s career, and then abolish throughout the UK all public spending in any area in any way related to any sector he worked in.


So you will gather I am not moved by the argument that the Tories must be resisted at all costs because of spending cuts. I like spending cuts. What to cut is, of course, the area of dispute. The Tories appear to be wedded to Trident, but will they kick it back a bit through a defence review?

It will be novel to see liberal ministers in office, but hard lessons have taught me not to expect too much from that. When the FCO was embarking on its positive policy of encouraging the gaining of intelligence through torture,


Peter Hain and Bill Rammell were both FCO ministers – and both have a genuine commitment to human rights. But somehow the system takes good men prisoner.

So, I wait to see if the coalition comes, and if so what it does. As I said before, if they halt the extradition of Gary McKinnon to the US, that would be a good early sign.

120 thoughts on “On Being a Government Supporter

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  • Anonymous

    Brown off to make his twenty million now.

    How long before his book comes out, anyone know?.

  • Dave.

    As someone who holds this whole sham democracy of ours in the contempt it deserves I must say that the antics of Clegg and co. have only reinforced that contempt. He/the ‘Liberals’ are nothing better than prostitutes selling themselves to the highest bidder.

    Capitalism may be safe for the time being but this disgraceful episode of whoring will sicken many of the electorate and with a bit of luck will bring about the end of the Lib.Dems for good. Then it will be one (party) down, two to go. Viva la Revolution!

  • ScouseBilly

    Thank goodness Nu-Lab has been emasculated.

    Now for the serious work of stripping away their dependents in the public sector.

    All its apparatchik’s have left is to display their death throws in the blogosphere – spinning to the end.


  • Anonymous


    If you are ever rushed into the mental hospital make sure you have your credit card with you, you are going to need it.

  • alan campbell

    Conservatives and civil liberties? What a nice thought. Let’s wait and see their reaction to the next attack.

  • Clark

    Oh for goodness’ sake, all you doomsayers. This is NOT the worst possible outcome. We could have had a Conservative overall majority, or even another five years of Labour (unlikely I admit).

    As it is at least we have a change of government – AND – the Lib Dems holding the balance of power. This is actually one of the better of the outcomes that were possible under the current electoral system.

    Let’s not count our vultures before they’ve hatched. I’m sure there’ll be plenty to criticize, but there may be some good stuff too.

  • Anonymous

    The lib dems done this when things were good.

    They voted to KEEP prescription charges in Scotland for chronic medical conditions.

    Examples of chronic medical conditions which are NOT exempt from prescription charges:


    Multiple Sclerosis



    Crohn’s Disease




    Chronic Leukaemia


    Ulcerative Colitis

    Hepatitis C

    What will they do in times like these.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    chrisentia – you’re right – it could happen by accident. The major threat of that comes from the thousands of nuclear weapons still in the Russian and American arsenals.

    It’s a lot more likely to result from one side having nuclear weapons and the other having none though – as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    (and Iran’s at serious risk of being hit with “tactical” nuclear weapons because it has no nuclear weapons to deter an attack – and because it, like Iraq, has a lot of oil – and American public opinion won’t stand for casualties in a ground occupation like those their military suffered in Iraq.)

  • Ruth


    I understand why you’re going but this blog is the only one I know which has both excellent posts and comments. Your comments are some of the best. If you go then there will be one less person to challenge this corrupted state.

    I think Craig gets carried away but he’ll rebound. He doesn’t have a deep knowledge of what’s really going on but he does say:

    ‘But somehow the system takes good men prisoner.’

    He doesn’t ask why this is so. Those in the know know that the UK economy has been dire since I believe the early 90s. Since then there’s been a fight for survival and anything goes. From what I’ve seen the intelligence service and other government agencies have been engaged in all sorts of ‘fundraising’ activities including carousel fraud. Judges bring in perverse decisions to conceal these covert activities. Good men become prisoners because they put their country before justice. In my opinion they are not good men because all countries have to ‘die’ at some point. When there’s corruption at the top it seeps down and the whole country becomes corrupted and human life valueless.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Also we could get rid of all nuclear weapons tommorrow and anyone could rebuild them – and we’d be back in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki scenario where one country has them, the rest don’t and so there’d be a far greater likelihood of nuclear war.

    Obama’s charm offensive on a nuclear free world is never going to lead to the US or Russia giving up all their nuclear weapons – it’s a propaganda campaign for sanctions and war on Iran.

    Chemical and biological weapons were both banned decades ago – it didn’t stop Saddam being allowed to use them in the 80s, nor did it stop US forces in Iraq using new versions of napalm, or white phosphorus – or US and British forces using Depleted Uranium from 1991 on there.

    I don’t like any of that, but it’s the reality.

    The only way to guarantee you’re not a target of a nuclear attack is to have nuclear weapons of your own, or else stay out of all foreign wars and be a very small country, part of no larger alliance, like e.g Norway.

    So an independent Scotland could do without nuclear weapons quite safely. The UK (given its recent involvement in Iraq, current war in Afghanistan and membership of NATO) would be taking a risk by getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

    The EU is a major power bloc and definitely needs a deterrent of its own.

  • Abe Rene

    I thought Gordon Brown’s departure very dignified: ‘Thank you – and goodbye.’

    Alan Campbell: good one! Do you mean that the Con-men are going to get a Dem good thrashing? Jokes aside, I hope that the alliance proves atsble.

  • Anonymous

    Within one minute of entering Downing street, David Cameron’s first act as PM was to write down orders to every commander of a british nuclear submarine, to tell them what to do if the UK comes under attack and they are not able to contact higher authority.

    Every PM has to do this.

  • MJ

    Well well. Looks like we’re getting fixed term parliaments. No more elections until May 2015!

  • Strategist

    I’m with Craig on this one. Let’s study the detail of the deal on an electoral reform referendum and see what happens.

    My instinct was to be very pissed off about a Con-Lib coalition but just seeing Blunkett and John Reid on the telly putting the boot in to destroy any chance of a Lab-Lib shared commitment to PR made me want to puke.

    Not least because they have put themselves in a strong position of ensuring that anyone vaguely left has nowhere else to go.

  • glenn

    Let’s see the LDs push back on every single thing “New” Labour did while in office which offended our civil liberties, that the Tories voiced outrage about at the time. The LDs can jolly the Tories along by saying how much they agreed with them at the time, that this or that legislation was wrong, and now – together – they’ll correct it.

    Extradition treaties for one, surveillance and emergency power acts for another – the list is as long as your arm. The Cons denounced every last thing “New” Labour did – how could they not agree to repeal it now they’re in power, with their own partners championing the rollback?

  • Phil

    Look Craig, I agree some top local government officers are grossly overpaid, largely due to consultants insistence that LG needed to ‘compete with the private sector for talent’.

    However, the bulk of local government staff are poorly paid. They also keep the education system running, stop families falling apart, keep roads repaired, and do a thousand and one other things without which society as you know it would cease to function.

    The number of ‘silly jobs’ is vanishingly small. Where they exist it is only due to some promise by a crazy local politician.

    So there is very little fat to cut in public services. Some of the inefficiency is in fact due to too many cuts. For instance private contractors are brought in to keep statutory services running if a flu epidemic goes round. Many hospitals rely on agency nurses who cost more, and move around too much to know any hospital well.

    It is simply a lazy myth that there are easy savings in the public sector, propagated by right-wing media which wish to see more and more privatisation, leading to more profit opportunities. It wont be too long before we have a privatised NHS, and possibly privatised schools.

    Is this what you and the rest of the LibDems want, Craig?

  • Anonymous

    My wife is a care worker for the local council, she is on a low wage. Looks like she will not have a job soon, all she is worried about is who will look after her old people.

  • Craig


    In no sense do I speak for the rest of the Lib Dems. I do not believe, however, that social workers “stop families falling apart”. I am happy to say that I have never met one – and more to the point, nor has anyone in my very large and undeniably working class extended family.

  • stef

    Personally, I think the Tories back in power is awesome news

    and in a coalition with the LibDems is icing on the cake

    Maybe now all those muppets who stood by all the ghastly things Nu Labour inflicted on us and world over the last 13 years might get off their arses and start opposing some of those ghastly things

    Instead of supporting a political party on the basis that ‘At least they’re not the Tories’ maybe it’s about time a few more people defined their beliefs in terms of what they think is right and decent

  • Anonymous

    I see you are about to get tory bloggers on here craig. That will make you happy. Bye.

  • glenn

    Two very good female contributors lost in the space of under a month. Hope it isn’t anything we said. It would be pretty dull around here if it’s only us men talking, plus the odd tea-bagging troll.

  • glenn

    Technicolour: Do you feel worse than when Blair was returned in 2005, and (despite talking about being more humble etc. prior to the election) it was taken (particularly abroad) as the British justifying his crimes in Iraq?

  • technicolour

    Glenn thanks; no, then I felt angry & sad. But still knew that only 22 % had voted for him, & that people ‘abroad’ would hopefully know this too.

    Feeling sick feels more disempowered. But hey. Tomorrow is another day.

  • Phil


    I’m very glad that neither you nor any of your family have met a social worker in a professional capacity.

    However, I wish you would meet one or two to find out what the work is really like. Did you watch the excellent BBC documentaries a while back?

    Cases like Victoria Climbie and Baby P are all over the papers when things go wrong. How many more cases would there be without the interventions of social workers? You just dont hear about it when things go OK.

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