Monday, 30 August 2010


So farewell then Cleggy my old friend, you kept a nation entertained with your mad cap misdemeanours and along with your fellow partners in crime you created a coalition of the hopeless and hapless, but all good things must come to pass and the BBC have called time on your period in the spotlight.

Ironic then really that as we come to the end of another summers political break that the BBC should be marking the passing of one Clegg just at the time that the vultures are circling around another. And this particular Clegg's exploits alongside his posh mate Dave are far less funny than those played out on the small screen.

You see local Liberal Democrats have had there own long summers whine. Publicly it's been all chocolates and roses and sycophantic columns written by LD apologists in the Chron, but underneath the surface and in private the battle for Cleggs successor is it seems gathering real pace.

Internal email trees leaked to myself and it seems also to the local press show that all is not well in sandal land as local Councillors and Candidates become worried about their prospects at next years elections and consider standing not in the name of the much maligned national party "Liberal Democrats" but as "Northampton Liberal Democrats" or the "Kingsthorpe Focus Team"

All is not well!

You see Nick Cleggs problem, just like his name sakes Norman in the sit com is that all of his old friends have now deserted him, and the watching public in response has now lost interest and decided that things aren't as good as they used to be, the show has lost it's shine and the popularity figures have plummeted.

But should we really be surprised? after all we all knew that the Liberal Democrats had been sold a pup by their New found Tory chums in Westminster. The price of all their heartache in being blamed for hitting the poorest hardest and an unnecessary attack on public spending was supposed to have been a cast iron guarantee on electoral reform but instead the Party has been left with faulty goods and a bill which may not even reach the ballot box and even if it does, the chances of a positive outcome for Britain's third party are looking pretty slim.

I remember when I was in Westminster that the whips worried long and hard through those summer weeks when we as MP's were in our constituencies taking soundings from the party faithful, and they knew that on our return we would be more rebellious than ever.

But this time I think the rebellion will be played out at a local, not a national level, as the harsh reality of those Local Government cuts come home to roost in the nests of local Lib Dem and Tory Councils. no longer can they blame the government for under funding local councils, no longer can they suggest that if they were in charge things would be different, instead every cut has a yellow and blue tag tied to it, and the brave amongst their membership won't stand for it.

In Northampton however, I don't see any of the local Lib Dem Council at the minute having the courage of their own convictions, it is far too close to the next election for them to change course, so they will have to put on a brave face and go to their execution with their heads held high in shame as the poorest and the most vulnerable amongst Northampton's public pay for the folly of Hapless Clegg and his foolish mates in the Westminster Village.

Expect at County Level for more Care Homes and Day Centres to shut, at Borough Level expect the elderly in Sheltered Housing to have their services cut even further!, in fact expect all service levels to drop even further as whole sections of the Council are contracted out to the cheapest deliverers, more intent on making a fast buck than delivering any type of acceptable service. Expect Leisure Centres to be hived off into Trusts, and through all of this privatisation and the hiving off of all our services expect the Liberal Democrats to suddenly find an appetite for small local government and the Big Society.

It is all smoke and mirrors though of course, and no matter how hard they polish those mirrors Liberal Democrats will still be left standing in front of them seeing a service cutting Tory stare back at them in their own reflection.

No amount of harping on about the national deficit will help them either, that cat is well and truly out of the bag, and before long it will be clear that the actions of the coalition since coming to power have damaged not improved the economic outlook for the country.

So whatever happened to the Liberal love affair with Keynes? Since when did any Local Liberal Democrat Council sign up for "small" Local Government?

It seems as if The Last of the Summer Wine left our screens because people no longer thought it was funny! Well their won't be much laughter around in our County and Town Halls this Autumn either as the harsh reality of just what the Liberal Democrats have allowed David Cameron to do in their name comes home to bite them hard.

I just hope that some of them (even one) have got the balls to stand up and stay true to their political principles, after all it may be the last chance they get to redeem themselves before the public have their say!



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