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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Our success stories make all the pain worthwhile

BEING in a coalition government is an “interesting” experience.

Tim Farron
Tim Farron

As a Liberal Democrat it is, of course, great to be directly involved in running the country. Clearly, as neither party in the coalition achieved a majority of MPs in Parliament, we both have to make compromises that if we were running things by ourselves we would not have to make.

There have been several decisions the government has made that I have felt less than comfortable with, however, there have also been a great many that I have been very proud to play a part in. At the last calculation I think nearly 70 per cent of the promises we made in the Liberal Democrat manifesto had been acted upon which I find really exciting. Of course there are the 30 per cent that have not been but we really cannot expect to have everything. I wish sometimes our coalition partners shared the same co-operative attitude to running the country. They do seem to be much less “team” orientated than we are, which brings with it its own challenges.

The vote to approve the introduction of same sex marriages was a great case in point. Even though it was not in the original coalition agreement it is a long standing belief amongst most Liberal Democrats that allowing anyone who has a loving partnership with someone whether a different sex or the same is only fair these days. As a result almost all Liberal Democrat MPs supported the bill. We only had one abstention. All the others who were not present had great excuses such as just having given birth (!), being away on government business or caring for sick family members.

Our partners on the other hand impressively failed to follow the leadership of the prime minister with more than half of them voting against the bill. What they think that this says about them and their party I can only guess but it cannot be good. Sadly, this is not the first time they have chosen to ignore the views of the party leaders nor I suspect the last. Their refusal to support the reform of the House of Lords and leave in place a decision making body stuffed with retired politicians and other unelected people springs to mind as another example of how out of touch they are with the current views of ordinary people.

I suspect if we had thought about it at the start of this government we would have realised it was never going to be easy. I confess I did not think that people would be as obstructive as they sometimes have been. But we continue to make progress, there are fewer people paying tax now than there was under the last government, we are working to ensure that companies and individuals pay all the tax that is due, schools are receiving more support for the children who need it most. It really does start to seem like an impressive list. One that certainly makes the pain worthwhile.

Have your say

It's sad to see Tim Farron steadily change his tack over the last two years. I remember listening to him lambast the coalition government and clearly separate himself from so many of their policies. Perhaps he then thought the coalition would collapse and, as party chairman but critical of the Libdems' conniving with the Tories, he'd be in a good position to take over as party leader. But now, he rarely criticises the government, just the Tories within it. Sad.

Posted by Ron C on 15 February 2013 at 18:42

Welll done to all those politicians who have been brave enough to stand up for their moral beliefs against the tide of political correctness. It's so easy to follow the herd and follow the party political line. Tim Farron, who are you following?

Posted by C S on 8 February 2013 at 20:54

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