Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/349/5791

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 May 2004

LibDems: Just another big business party

THE LIBERAL Democrats launched their Euro 2004 election bid on an anti-war ticket. What a rip-off! Polls show around half of voters oppose the war on Iraq. Support for Labour amongst Britain's Muslims has halved from 75% at the last general election to 38% now.

Alistair Tice

Most of these voters have turned to the Lib-Dems who are up from 10% to 36% amongst Muslims. So the Lib-Dems are appealing to voters to "punish Blair" over Iraq in the European elections.

The Lib-Dems are perceived as anti-war, an image enhanced by the Stop The War Coalition giving their leader Charles Kennedy a platform (in a personal capacity) at last year's 15 February demonstration of two million protesters.

But Kennedy did NOT oppose the war. He just wanted it covered by a second United Nations resolution. On their party web-site, he said the Lib-Dems were "not the all out anti-war party". When the bombing started, he said "now is the time for silence." Deafening opposition! One year on, they support the occupation, only calling for a parliamentary vote on whether more British troops should be deployed.

This opportunist pseudo-radicalism on Iraq belies a marked shift to the right by the Lib-Dems over the last two or three years.

Giving up

Since giving up, for now, on the Lib-Lab coalition project, the Lib-Dems have sought to replace the Tories as the main opposition party to New Labour. 80% of their target seats for the next general election are Tory-held. So to refute "tax and spend" accusations and woo Tory voters the Lib-Dems have moved right.

Even according to one of their own peers, Lord Greaves, recently promoted MPs are "pseudo-Blairites". Vince Cable, now Treasury spokesperson, was former chief economist at Shell, and advisor David Laws is a millionaire former banker! They are another party of big business.

A recent party statement boasted that "Liberal Democrats start with a bias in favour of market solutions." This was reflected in their Alternative Budget proposals which included 5 billion 'savings' to be made through cuts and privatisation.

They backed the Gershon report which will lead to tens of thousands of public sector jobs being slashed. In one of the most de-regulated economies in the industrialised world, the Lib-Dems want to "cut red tape and set business free from unnecessary burdens."

They say above-inflation increases in the minimum wage are unaffordable and that there should be compulsory arbitration in industrial disputes in strategic sectors of the economy and essential public services. Bad news for the low-paid and trade unionists.

Privatisation fans

NOT TO be outdone by New Labour or the Tories, the Lib-Dems have gone privatisation-mad as well. With not much left to sell-off, they've identified the Royal Mint, the Defence Export Services Organisation, motorway service station assets and the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre!

They're even back-tracking on their most popular policies. Scrapping tuition fees and the abolition of personal care charges for the elderly in long-term care were to be funded by a 50p top-rate tax on high income earners over 100,000 a year.

This 50% tax rate has now been 'refined' to include national insurance and local income tax (the Lib-Dems' replacement for council tax), so making very little difference to the current top tax rates and blunting its redistributive effect.

Dropped promises

Even on the council tax which the Lib-Dems want to abolish, they've dropped their earlier promise to cut all bills by 100 a year. And this year, it was Lib-Dem controlled councils that put council tax up the most - on average 6.4%.

Launching their local election campaign the Lib-Dems did not present a national manifesto, claiming their support for 'localism'. This is just a cover for their electoral opportunism.

For example, Lib-Dems in Manchester supported a new runway at the Airport (jobs) while Lib-Dems in Stockport (under the flight path) opposed the same runway! Lib-Dems in Sheffield support a new bigger incinerator (in fact they privatised it!) whilst in Hull they campaigned against an incinerator.

Even on Europe, where the Lib-Dems have been distinctive in their support for the EU, integration and the Euro, their shadow chancellor Vince Cable recently argued that Brussels has got too big for its boots and that social and environmental policy should be repatriated to the member states. Clearly, the Lib-Dems will face both ways if they think there are votes in it!

Indeed, after their 29% swing by-election victory in Brent East last September, Charles Kennedy attacked "the lazy short-hand of the Left-Right slide-rule. The notion is a hangover from 20th century politics..." This echoed Blair's earlier laments about "tribal politics". Both their attempts to free themselves from the realities of the class struggle and be 'pragmatic' will end in failure.

The Lib-Dems are just another neo-liberal capitalist party. They have the luxury of "radicalism" that comes from being in opposition. They have no principles other than to get into power, and once there, as we've seen in Sheffield and other councils, they carry out the same Tory policies of cuts and privatisation as New Labour.

 

 

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


In The Socialist 29 May 2004:

The Real Cost Of War

Iraq: Bush's Plans For Puppet Regime


Socialist Party workplace news

Fight The Great Pensions Robbery

Greater Manchester Firefighters Stand Firm

United Action Can Defeat Bosses' Attacks

Tube Workers Ballot For Action

PCS Left Unity Landslide


Socialist Party campaigns

LibDems: Just another big business party

Coventry: Labour Should Feel Worried

Socialism 2004


Socialist Party features

Wanted: A Real Childcare Strategy

Gaza: Sharon's Scorched Earth Policy


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 May 2004   |   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

Big business:

triangleHull City supporters fight to reclaim their club and the game

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

Tax:

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: The battle that defeated the Poll Tax

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

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: How we beat the Poll Tax

War:

triangleHull says no to war, no to austerity

Election:

triangleTories out!

Labour:

triangleRMT Labour Party affiliation debate - where do socialists stand?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

25/4/18

NUJ

Journalists' union leaders defeat call for political fund, but potential for left grows

25/4/18

Usdaw

Retail union backs zero-hour ban, leaders oppose rank-and-file coordination

25/4/18

McDonalds

McDonald's strikers: "We demand a living wage and decent conditions"

25/4/18

Yorkshire

Sheffield and South Yorkshire: no to closures - defend our NHS

25/4/18

Southampton

Southampton: the cuts or no cuts election

24/4/18

Newham

School strike forces head to say privatisation will stop

23/4/18

Hull

College protest against job losses

22/4/18

Bromley

Bromley library workers win strike campaign

18/4/18

UCU

UCU members vote to end pensions dispute

18/4/18

Usdaw

Usdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

18/4/18

Leeds

Victorious Fearnville Fields campaigners thank the Socialist

18/4/18

Hull

Hull says no to war, no to austerity

18/4/18

The Socialist

The Socialist - a fighting, campaigning, workers' paper

18/4/18

Socialist Party

Building fund: 150,000 milestone smashed!

18/4/18

Fighting Fund

Give us your change (and more) to fight for system change!

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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: 0784 114 4890

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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999