There’s an interesting and thought provoking post from Andrew Page at Scottish Liberal. It is his analysis of Nick Clegg’s speech to what they somewhat strangely call the Federal Conference.
When it comes to matter Libdem, I think Andrew presents the most balanced views, praising what is praiseworthy, and debunking that which is not (although I also have huge admiration for George Potter and his uphill struggle to make sure that the Liberals, as a party, do the right thing by the sick and disabled, so big shout out to George here too). Anyway, if you want to know what ACTUALLY happened in Brighton, this is the article for the leader’s speech and there is another one on the SOS's and Willie Rennie's.
Coming back to this post, I was a bit concerned about Andrew’s observation that:
"Clegg hopes to convince voters that, with slow but sure signs of improvement, it would be wrong to trust Labour with the economy in 2015."
Because, from what I can see at the moment, that would probably mean a Tory government in 2015, and for all my criticism of what the Liberals have contributed to the current Westminster set up, I have to say that, rather like the Labour-Liberal coalitions of the Scottish parliament, the best stuff has been Liberal sourced (excepting Danny Alexander’s scheme to tax North Sea exploration).
But I cannot help but think that the Liberals will emerge as a very much reduced force in 2015, (unless Clegg can pull a rabbit out of his hat) and even if they were needed to provide a coalition partner for the Tories, whether under Cameron or Boris, their influence could only be very slight, much less than today.
The only thing that could possibly reverse the Liberals' fortune would be a real turn around in economic conditions and a consequent real and measurable improvement in people's standards of living. (Even at that I’m sure that Osborne would try to take any credit going for that to re-launch his campaign to replace Cameron.)
I don't see that happening in the next two years, and in any case, Cameron has made it clear that even when(if) things get better there will be no return to higher levels of public spending (suggesting that the cuts are more ideologically than economically driven). So, although things may get better, the likes of you and I won’t feel it.
Of course, my response to all of this is that with some luck and a lot of hard work, none of this will be our problem, and what we should be thinking about is which one(s) of the party leaders would be best to deal with when it comes to negotiations with the Scottish government.
If it is a Tory only government I suspect that they might not even have one MP here, and I’m not sure who will be left from the Liberals, but perhaps they would not feel it necessary in these cases to have a Scottish Secretary.
I guess Boris, just because he’s a prickly sort of person, would be the most difficult to negotiate with (although, given that he has told people often enough that Scotland is such a drain on the UK, he would surely be pleased to see the back of us).
Anyone else any thoughts on that?