We need to be adults when it comes to relations with Labour
December 27, 2011 § 7 Comments
Recently I suggested on Twitter (@mathewhulbert) that we should be less aggressive when it comes to how we deal with our relations with the Labour Party.
Well, you’d have thought I’d called for the return of the death penalty or something.
Bucket loads of rhetorical slurry were poured over me by some of my fellow Lib Dems, who-in essence-said that we should slam Labour at every opportunity and that there’s no way we could work with them post 2015.
To be frank, I think that kind of analysis is not only wrong, but also very dangerous when it comes to the long-term future of our party.
Let me be clear: Labour did much with which I disagree; to quote our President, Tim Farron from this year’s Spring Conference, “they de-regulated the banks, they out-Thatchered Mrs Thatcher, they idolised the Markets.”
They were also dreadful on civil liberties and much else besides.
The gap between the richest and poorest in our country grew under Labour, between 1997 and 2010.
So, they undoubtedly deserved to lose the last election and we should continue-when fair and true-to point out their failings.
But we also need to be grown-up in our dealings with Labour.
They did much that was, in my view, right. For example, certainly compared to previous Governments, their record on the Gay Rights agenda was excellent.
They made international development a top priority.
When we slam down every single one of their current policies-especially on economic matters-we make it more and more difficult to be able to have meaningful discussions with Labour if and when we have a hung Parliament after 2015.
My concern is that some at the top of our party have decided that they couldn’t work with Labour and are doing all they can to ensure that option just isn’t on the table…meaning (depending on the results, of course) we either continue in Coalition with the Tories, or return to opposition.
The only sensible view, in my opinion, is for us to be flexible. For us to point out the good and bad policies of both of our potential Coalition partners.
The personal preferences of whoever is in leadership of our party should not define what is in the best interests of the party as a whole.