Britain’s government is a parliamentary democracy, where the majority party in Parliament determines who is Prime Minister and who is in the Cabinet. In most cases the majority party is either the Conservatives or Labour, but in the last election neither party won a full majority. Consequently the third place party, the Liberal Democrats got to choose which party they would align with and co-govern.
The logical choice for the Lib Dems was to form a coalition government with the Labour party, but instead they chose to join with the Conservatives to form the government. Presumably this was because they were offered more. But of being offered something and actually getting something are two different things.
Conservatives had agreed to support a Lib Dem proposal to have more proportional voting, and then refused to support the concept. And just recently Conservatives reneged on their promise to reform the House of Lords, a hereditary body that everyone except the Lords thinks should be democratically chosen. So how has all of this worked out for the Lib Dems in the general populace? Not very good.
The 25 per cent collapse in the size of the Lib Dems’ ranks members Mr Clegg’s party with fewer members than the British Psychologists Society or the population of the Northamptonshire town of
It is the first time the party’s membership has dipped below 50,000 since it was founded nearly 25 years ago.
What is going on here of course is voter disgust when a political party blatantly sells out its principles.
Senior Lib Dems blamed the fall on “contamination” by association with the party’s Conservative Coalition partners.
The Coalition’s decision to raise tuition fees, reform the NHS and the shake-up the welfare system has dismayed the Lib Dems’ grassroots.
One of the party’s most senior figures said: “In the past we have been in opposition and we have attracted members who oppose Government policy.
“Now we are in Government and are having to make difficult decisions, many which have not exactly thrilled our supporters or ourselves. It is very hard to pick up members in such circumstances.”
The party leader, Nick Clegg who was given the largely ineffective post of Deputy Prime Minister looks to be working on his exit.
Speculation about Mr Clegg’s leadership has grown in recent weeks, after Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary, suggested that he would consider becoming the leader.
Mr Clegg has been talked of as a possible successor to Baroness Ashton as Britain’s EU commissioner. This is a post that would begin in January 2015, four months before the next General Election.
But it may be that by 2014 Mr. Clegg is the only member of the party, in which case he could then be all things to all people and no one would leave his party under protest.