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Financial Times: In seats where Lib Dems are the incumbent or main challenger, we would vote tactically for them.

May 2, 2015 11:34 AM
In Liberal Democrat Voice

If you woke up in the middle of the night, chances are you might have heard in the distance a rhythmic humming heartbeat sound. That would be the risograph* in a Liberal Democrat key seat churning out leaflets with this quote from the Financial Times:

The country would benefit from the countervailing force of Lib Dem moderation at Westminster. In seats where the Lib Dems are the incumbent or the main challenger, we would vote tactically for them.

The paper was far from complimentary about the Tories' divisive strategy. I guess the last thing they want to do is refer to the fact that the coalition has actually worked well:

Five years ago, the prospect of coalition government attracted dire predictions of instability in markets and gridlock at Westminster. Neither proved true. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has shown European-style cohabitation can work. Curiously, Mr Cameron has not trumpeted its successes. He has preferred to wage a campaign of fear. Labour, he argues, would prove untrustworthy on the economy; and a Labour government would be held hostage by a separatist Scottish National party. The risk of a cross-border leftist alliance is not negligible; but even some Tories worry that its invocation encourages English nationalism.

The FT essentially wants to see a continuation of the current economic strategy which is far from being a Tory-only creation. We all remember what generally happens when the Tories are left in charge during a recession. The 80's, anyone? In this instance, the Liberal Democrats have ensured a properly national recovery from a massive economic event which could have plunged us into an appalling depression.

It's important to remember that we could have sat this one out. Had we not been there, the Tories would have continued with severe austerity rather than adjust it when the circumstances demanded. As George Crozier pointed out in an article on this site last week, the Liberal Democrats shaped the recovery:

For different reasons it often suits both Conservative and Labour voices to paint a picture in primary colours of undeviating adherence to Plan A. But this caricature is wrong. The reality is more nuanced and rather more Liberal Democrat. The Coalition has shown commendable flexibility, for example in reversing some of the capital spending cuts that were inherited from Labour once it became clear they were holding back the recovery. The Coalition has balanced cuts with carefully targeted stimulus. And above all it has been willing to forego substantial amounts of tax revenue and even slow the pace of austerity in order to help create jobs and encourage people to take them up.

This approach has worked. Liberal Democrat policies and influence have been at the heart of it. Three of the five key politicians deciding economic strategy in this Parliament have been Liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats should be proud of this. It should be front and centre of our election campaign.

*Where there's a risograph churning paper in the middle of the night, there's also an organiser looking after it, losing yet more sleep. Let today be the day we celebrate these wonderful members of staff who work all hours to makes sure that everything that needs to be done is done. There are just 6 days to go, but for organisers, it's not been a 38 day campaign, it's been more like a 450 day campaign. All organisers will be knackered. This weekend, when you go to a target seat, make sure you make a special point of thanking the organiser and, preferably, providing them with cocoa-solid related foodstuffs.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings