Stick with the coalition, quit or split?by James Macintyre / August 22, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
There was a joke going around Westminster in 2010, when the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition with the Conservatives. If you phoned Lib Dem headquarters, it ran, and asked for a copy of the party’s manifesto, the answer was: “Sorry, we’ve sold out.” At the time, even newly empowered Lib Dem Cabinet ministers allowed themselves a chuckle at the gag. Now, they aren’t laughing.
Nick Clegg is paying the price of his decision in 2010 to join in a coalition with a party with very different views from his own on everything from Europe to immigration to constitutional reform. It was a gamble, the consequences of which are now shaking the party.