A Few Good Things The Lib Dems Are Doing…

Here’s the thing…
I’m not a supporter of this government. Of course I’m not. I’m a Lib Dem, and this government’s MPs are 5/6 Tories.
But nor have I been a supporter of any other government in my lifetime (possibly I may have supported the dying days of the Callaghan administration, but I was only a few months old at the time, and rather politically naive). And as far as I can see the bad things this government is doing are the same bad things that every government of my lifetime has done, while it’s doing a few good things that none of the others have. And the good things seem to me to be pretty much entirely down to the Lib Dems.
Furthermore, the Lib Dems also seem to be preventing a lot of the worst ideas the Tories have.

However, the ranting about ‘ConDems’ and so on seems to have left a lot of people – decent people, for the most part – with the impression that by going into coalition with the Tories, the Lib Dems have ensured that Satan will rule the earth for a thousand years. Because the very real good stuff that’s being done really isn’t getting spoken about.

So every so often I’m going to just do a quick run-down of good things the Lib Dems are doing as a party – either good government measures they’ve brought in, good new policies from the party, or bad government measures they’ve stopped. This doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly turned into some government loyalist – *FAR* from it – and I’ll continue attacking bad government decisions as much as anyone. But it should go some way toward explaining why I’m still in the party.

Vince Cable and Danny Alexander resist pressure to drop the 50% tax rate – though they may support replacing it with a mansion tax (probably a good idea – taxes on property tend to be fairer than taxes on income) they’re ensuring that any tax cuts benefit poorer, rather than richer, people.

The party is likely to call for an inquiry into decriminalising drugs.

The worst parts of the Digital Economy Act are getting dropped, and copyright law will be reworked to make better allowances for personal use. Julian Huppert is still pushing for even more reform, though.

The Hughes Report, if implemented, will ensure more young people from poor backgrounds get to go to university.

The Lib Dems, unlike other parties, stood up to Murdoch and refused to be bullied.

The government will be the first to add new social housing since Thatcher started selling council houses off

And so on… this is just a list of things from the last three weeks – see this for some of the other things the Lib Dems have already done.

And these may look like only minor good things – and the ones from the last few weeks are, though the ones in that last link include some major, important, good things – but other than the first three years of the Blair government (which brought in a few decent things like the minimum wage) I can’t think of any government in my lifetime where I could list even that many small good things they’d done.

So yes, I’m going to continue to fight against the illiberal tendencies of this government, and to ensure that the Liberal members live up to their professed ideals, but I’ll continue to do so from within the party.

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3 Responses to A Few Good Things The Lib Dems Are Doing…

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Thanks, Andrew, this kind of thing is an important and encouraging reminder.

  2. Dave Page says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of the bad things this Government is doing are things that the Lib Dems don’t want to do, but the Tories do. The so-called “cuts” (hard to call them that while public spending is still going up, and even then we’re talking about going back to 2006 levels of public spending, not 1980s) are an end in themselves for the Tories.

    For the Lib Dems, balancing the need to get the deficit under control with as many measures to protect the poorest as we can manage, and making progress on long-term environmental and economic goals, while hampered by the Tories’ unwillingness to tax high earners or property, is a very difficult challenge. It’s not something we want to be doing. Nowhere in our constitution does it say we believe that cutting the size of the state sector is inherently good (but nowhere do we say it’s inherently bad). And despite this we’re getting some 70% of our manifesto into Government, regardless of the rhetoric that we’re sell-outs.

    However, it looks like the Lib Dems in Government have achieved a deficit reduction strategy which is better for poor people than the Tories would have achieved on their own, and better in the long term for poor people than Labour would have managed. Don’t forget that for every £8 cut by the coalition, Labour intended to cut £7 – their knee-jerk opposition to everything the Government does and failure to present an alternative is just opportunistic politics.

    So yeah, I’m not entirely happy with what the Government’s doing, but I think the Lib Dems are doing a bloody good job of a bloody hard situation, and that we need to keep putting these good points across so we can get more Lib Dem MPs in Parliament with more influence over the Government.

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