Letter to a progressive Liberal Democrat
So it’s war. We knew it would be.
Obviously, you don’t ask the Tories how they can do this. They, streetfighters of long-standing, the current vogue for simpering head-boy bonhomie notwithstanding, are clear about their aims, interests and concomitant attacks.
Nor is this message addressed to Vince Cable or the wolf-eyed replicant Clegg. Whatever theatrics of choicelessness and discomfort the former occasionally insinuates, he, good Orange Booker, knows just what he’s up to. And the latter dispenses even with the mummery.
But you - you’re one of those Liberal Democrats who takes seriously a commitment to some kind of progressive agenda. You’re another thing. One doesn’t have to share all your politics to believe you sincere. So it has to be asked of you: WTF?
We know that the cuts are massively regressive. We know this is a hecatomb of welfare. We know the arts are being savaged in a philistine rampage. We know that all the gorge-raising horseshit about being All In It Together™ is a meaningless tic. So you, like other left-wing LibDems (LWLDs), know - know - that you’re propping up an economic onslaught by those who think it their birthright to rule in wealth against the mass of working people.
When it’s obvious that there are other ways of saving money that don’t punish the poor, are you happy with what you’re doing?
When it’s not just radical, but eminently mainstream, even neoliberal economists who are stressing that if your aim is to reestablish the British economy this is economic gibberish, are you comfortable?
Sure, some Tories are fucking idiots - but a lot aren’t. They know that these measures, far from salvaging it, might very well break the economy. And that is, for them, a risk worth taking, because either way, something is gained: a transfer of power, the finishing of the Thatcherite revolution, a recomposition of class strength. And if the cost of that is mass immiseration, and even the stagnation of the national economy, so be it.
So the question for you is, just how comfortable are you being complicit with baying class thuggery?
What are you getting out of this? How many pieces of silver? It profiteth a person nothing if they exchange their immortal soul for the world, but for - what? Minister of State for Children and Families? The same ones you’re taking money from?
And even if you follow the Auton Lothario of Sheffield Hallam in thinking that morals are for mortals, that concern at the antidemocratic imposition of an agenda the vast majority of those who voted for you would be appalled at is quaint, there’s also the question of strategy. If kneecapping the welfare state does not, in fact, prod the sclerotic economy into anything approaching life (and why should it?), then the LibDems - you - are finished. You face annihilation.
Even cynically, is it worth it? To be treated, for two terms, minimum, as the scum of British politics? The most craven power-licking integrity-less liars of Parliament? Not even Tories but Tory-enablers? Do you honestly think that the majority of the electorate who supported you (in deeply misguided protest) would be willing to give you their vote again? Unless it was to shit on it, put it in a paper bag, set fire to it and post it through your door?
Would you not feel better being able to sleep at night? Where’s your line in the sand?