Clegg’s pledges – what are they worth?

[Image: The Independent]

[Image: The Independent]

We laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true.

Vox Political reader Simon Kirk pointed out this little gem from comedian Mark Steel, writing in The Independent.

At a time when the Liberal Democrats are desperately trying to claw back some credibility, he make the excellent point that, after the betrayals of the last few years, it is unrealistic to expect anyone to believe anything Nick Clegg and his yellow friends say in the future.

Worse still, there is evidence that teams representing the Tories and Liberal Democrats negotiated what would be in a coalition agreement before the May 2010 election – the document mentioned in The Guardian‘s article is dated March 16, 2010 – and abolishing student tuition fees, a principle Liberal Democrat pledge, was not part of the agreement.

In other words, Clegg campaigned for two months ahead of the election with a promise that he knew he was going to break. Apparently you can get the full details in a book entitled Five Days To Power by Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East.

The article states: “George Osborne, who had long feared the Tories would struggle to win an overall parliamentary majority, persuaded David Cameron to allow him to form the Tories’ own secret coalition negotiating team two weeks before the election. The Tory leader demanded total secrecy and asked only to be given the barest details for fear that he would blurt it out ‘unplanned in an interview’.” (Thanks go to Vox Political commenter ‘Florence’ for these details)

With hindsight, we know that Cameron had other matters he needed to keep secret, such as the fact that he was claiming he would protect the public National Health Service, when in fact his colleague Andrew Lansley had been working on a plan to privatise it for many years. Lansley had also been sworn to secrecy.

So both Coalition parties have a proven track record of dishonesty in the run-up to the 2010 election and there is no reason to believe the Liberal Democrats have changed now. In fact, as Mark Steel points out, Clegg has even gone on record, saying “we have to be grown-up” to excuse himself.

In response, Mr Steel asserts: “If the grown-up way is to ignore everything you said to get elected, why bother having an election campaign at all? For the televised debates at the next election, Clegg might as well bring in a guinea-pig, and when he’s asked about his plans for defence, he can ask David Dimbleby, “Would you like to stroke Oscar?”

Other possible campaigning choices listed in the article include “learning to play the piccolo or building a canoe” because “it’s like a junkie telling you how this time the £200 he wants off you really will be paid back on Thursday. The carefully costed details don’t determine your decision so much as how last week he robbed your kids’ teddies and sold them for £12”.

So much for the Liberal Democrats. If you ever feel close to being persuaded by their arguments, just have another look at Mark Steel’s article to refresh your memory.

Nowadays, a laugh is the only thing they’re good for.

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18 thoughts on “Clegg’s pledges – what are they worth?

  1. Nigel

    Here’s the problem: The Liberal Democrats are NEVER going to win an election and end up either the biggest party after ANY general election. Hence, because at best, they are only ever going to be part of a coalition with one or more other parties or be in opposition, they are never going to be in a position to implement single-handedly anything in their manifesto without horse-trading with another party. Thus nothing in their manifesto means anything at all since it will likely never see the light of day due to opposition from more powerful political forces.

    In short: The Liberal Democrats can say anything and promise anything because nothing they announce or promise is ever likely to see the light of day and end up implemented. We also now know how easily they will roll over and let another party in a coalition have its way and do terrible things and how absolutely hopeless and incompetent Lib Dems are in government bar Vince Cable.

    A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for the Conservatives.

      1. kathrynd1

        The LibDems is the closest a political party can come to being a common prostitute. They sold themselves for a handful of Cabinet-posts.

  2. William

    No body is worth anything in politics as all seek their own, and it has rightly been said of the organisation 38% that they are working hand and glove with the government, that it represents itself as a protest movement, but is not, that it is simply an organisation that government pushes forward to make it look as though government listens to the voice of the people, when we know it does not.

  3. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Steel’s article and that of the Guardian, which reveals that Clegg had absolutely no intention of honouring his election promises, will doubtless confirm many students of what they already knew: that the Libdems are absolutely treacherous and untrustworthy. A few years ago I attended a conference of medievalists at Uni. One of the papers was on the Welsh churchman and chronicler, Gerald of Wales. The speaker opened with a very unflattering description of how the subject of his talk was two-faced, treacherous, untrustworthy and an intriguer, who said one thing and did another. He then stated that, no, he wasn’t talking about Nick Clegg, but about the medieval Welsh ecclesiastic. His comments were very well received, and it was clear talking to many of those in attendance that there were very few, who had any time for Clegg or his coalition partners. A lot of students are going to remember Clegg’s lies about tuition fees for a very long time to come.

    1. Nigel

      It isn’t just the lies but the relish with which Clegg has supported and defended many of the worst Conservative policies. Quite recently I heard him very fulsomely defend the Bedroom Tax saying how great it was that people living in crowded conditions could move into properties once under-occupying tenants had been driven out by the Bedroom Tax. Awful.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Inaccurate, too. Those crowded people are afraid to move into properties vacated because of the Bedroom Tax, as they think they might become victims of it in the future.

  4. Thomas M

    William, if that was the case why would the government gag it?

    As for the Lib Dems, noone with any sense should trust a word they say. I will love it if they end up as a rump of a party.

    1. William

      Because games and being played, mind games. The same can be said when government declares, over and over again, that it is a democrasy. Liars! Government full well knows that since 1911 it is an Autocrasy. In 1911 the Parliamentary Act was passed, coming from a bill that Churchill and Lloyd, and another had penned and pushed forward. No longer was the British government to operate on democratic lines, and elections, and the like, are but smoke and mirrors. Even at the polling station we see autocrasy present as no box to mark to say no confidence in any party. Government demands, as autocrats do, that we conform to what it says, not that it should conform to what we say, which the latter is democrasy.

  5. jaypot2012

    To me this smacks of conspiracy and should be treated as such!
    As for the Lib/Dems, there future is well mapped out as there will be very, very few Lib/Dem MP’s and as Clegg has ruined the party and sold it out to the highest bidder, I would be very surprised if it took decades to give them any kind of worthiness again!

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  8. Alan

    Ministers are a bunch of proffesional liars and when people wake up to see this then the arguments will stop as to what one politician is doing over against another. It is about time people woke up, and grew up. I for one would not allow any politician near my business because they cannot be trusted to do what is right, their course is one wholley bent. Government has within it liars, thieves, deceivers, and the rest, that are in positions that they have no qualifications for, which in the real world one would never do. Fancy employing a university leaver as a doctor, when their field is history, and then a few months on appoint them as head of agriculture and fishers, then DWP.

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