Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 April 2005

Liberal Democrats: Phoney radicals - no different to the rest

UNDER THE slogan The Real Alternative the Liberal Democrats have launched their biggest, most expensive advertising campaign for 20 years. They're spending 100,000 just on full-page adverts in the daily papers listing their ten-point election programme.

Jim Horton

With deep distrust of Blair and lingering hostility towards the Tories, the Lib Dems hope to achieve their best result for 90 years, aiming to win 70 seats.

Decades of languishing in third-place opposition have allowed the Lib Dems to adopt the pretence of radicalism. But do the Lib Dems really offer a radical alternative to New Labour and Tory big business policies of war, cuts and privatisation?


Even before Iraq was invaded, the Lib Dems' opposition to war was limited; they'd already backed the brutal invasion of Afghanistan and their only quibble with the planned assault on Iraq was that it had no blessing from the United Nations. But once conflict started, they supported the war where coalition forces slaughtered thousands of Iraqis.

Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy calls for troops to be withdrawn by the end of 2005, but like the other party leaders, argues the troops should stay until the occupying forces have put down the insurgency.

Abolition of tuition fees:

Socialists campaign against tuition fees and would welcome their abolition, but the Lib Dems' pledge to introduce a grant of up to 2,000 a year, no more than 50 a week, will do little to alleviate student poverty. It falls well short of the Socialist Party's demand for a living grant.

Council tax:

Massive rises in council tax, including by Lib Dem-controlled councils, have led to growing opposition to this tax. The Lib Dems propose to replace council tax with a local income tax. Without adequate government funding and an end to privatisation however, local taxes - whatever form they take - will keep rising while local services deteriorate.

Public spending:

New Labour plans cuts of 22 billion, with over 100,000 civil service jobs lost. The Tories want 35 billion cuts with 235,000 jobs going. But the Lib Dems are no better. They plan to cut 5 billion on top of New Labour's 22 billion.

All the main parties say they'll spend more on health and education. Millions of pounds which Labour poured into the NHS have gone straight to private companies in PFI deals. Now Labour want to contract out 15% of NHS operations to the private sector.

The Lib Dems won't reverse this. They want to give foundation hospitals, which already have the 'freedom' to get into debt, sell assets and treat more private patients, more autonomy. This paves the way for privatisation and the NHS' break-up.


The Lib Dems were the first to plan privatisation of local services when they controlled Liverpool city council in the early 1980s! In that city in 1998 they carried out mass privatisation of council housing and services, and boasted of a 300 million deal with Jarvis, subsequently infamous for the Potters Bar rail disaster.

In 1999, while controlling Sheffield city council the Lib Dems went privatisation-mad, selling off sports and leisure facilities, elderly people's homes and refuse services.

Workers' rights:

The 'Liberal' Democrats propose a 'last-resort' ban on strikes in essential services and parts of the private sector!

Kennedy claims the Lib Dems won't go into coalition with other parties if there's a hung parliament, but the Lib Dems share control of many town halls with either New Labour or the Tories. In Waltham Forest they helped New Labour privatise elderly care and housing services and plan to close special needs schools.

Nationally the Lib Dems voiced opposition to academies, yet in Waltham Forest moves to hand McEntee School over to millionaire Jasper Conran were only thwarted by a community campaign involving Socialist Party members (see centre pages).

Workers don't need the Lib Dems' phoney radicalism. We need a new mass workers' party to represent our interests.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 14 April 2005:

MG Rover: The Ugly Face of Capitalism

Nationalise Rover now

No more asset-stripping, renationalise, don't subsidise

British economy - not really that healthy

Tesco - every two billion helps

Socialists' city-wide challenge

Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) A socialist approach

New Labour's education failure

Liberal Democrats: Phoney radicals - no different to the rest

Socialist Students fight for a campaigning NUS

Three months after the tsunami, government inaction fuels the flame of protest

Pope John Paul II

Young members create new opportunities in Huddersfield


Home   |   The Socialist 14 April 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Liberal Democrats:

triangleCorbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

triangleTUSC: To stand or not to stand?

triangleLessons of the 'N30' 2011 pension strike

triangleLibrary cuts: working class kids suffer most

triangleLabour loses byelection but Corbyn isn't the problem


triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

triangleTrump v NHS

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism


triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The fight against the poll tax

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How we beat the Poll Tax

triangleTurn Carillion crisis into movement against privatisation and capitalism


triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!

trianglePassing the council cuts test


triangleThe Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them


triangleFor a fighting, democratic Labour Party

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018