by Pete Bowyer
With David Clark et al’s letter to the Guardian today, Labour’s defeatist tendency is once again on the march, prematurely calling for a Lib-Lab coalition following the 2015 general election.
After a year in which the Lib Dems fortunes have sunk to an all time low, and Labour has established a clear, if soft, lead in the polls, it is perverse that we should be preparing the ground now for a future coalition with a toxic political party. Just ask the Tories!
Those of us who have long confronted the Lib Dems on the ground in local politics, have become weary of the suggestion that they are a truly progressive force in British politics. Here in Lambeth, their short-lived, single term coalition with the Tories saw council tax rise by almost 40%, social housing conditions deteriorate and severe cuts across the board in local services.
Ironically, many of the signatories to the letters are fully signed up members to “the 2015 Election is already in the bag” brigade, which makes you wonder how confident they are in their own predictions. Those of us who are not quite so complacent, believe it is incumbent on all party members to campaign for a majority Labour government, rather than throwing our opponents a political lifeline.
If, in the event, we fail to achieve one, the parliamentary arithmetic will dictate next steps. The instincts of most Labour party members would be to proceed with a minority government initially, and call an early second election to establish a clear mandate as soon as the opportunity arose, a strategy which David Cameron was extremely foolish not to follow in 2010.
In the meantime, we should continue to attack the Lib Dems, not cave in to them.
Pete Bowyer is a councillor in Lambeth