By Harriet Harman - 17th December 2012
What the public want and deserve are politicians that will keep their word - people will not fooled by the Lib Dems duplicity.
Yesterday marked the 5th anniversary of Nick Clegg’s leadership, a leadership which has been of two halves – two and half years promising one thing and two and half years doing another. The Nick Clegg who promised to vote against any rise in tuition fees, who said he'd provide 3,000 more police officers and who warned against a "Tory VAT bombshell" is certainly different from the Nick Clegg who voted to treble tuition fees, cut at least 15,000 police officers and increase VAT to 20%. The Lib Dems have always been keen to say whatever they think the voters want to hear.
Whatever he says, the truth is the Lib Dems have not been a brake on the Tories in Coalition. The longest double dip recession since the Second World War, tuition fees, nurses cut, police axed and millions paying more while millionaires get a tax cut. The Lib Dems have voted for these policies in Parliament and must be held to account for these decisions.
During the first few years of his leadership, Nick Clegg made promises which since entering government he has broken. However, he has continued to say one thing whilst doing another – voting in Parliament for legislation completely at odds with what he is saying. For instance, Nick Clegg said in his speech yesterday that all policies must meet the tests of creating a fairer society and a stronger economy, whilst providing a balance of opportunity and responsibility for individuals. But, this month he has supported an Autumn Statement which plans to cut support for working families in order to pay for the cost of the Chancellor’s failure. The plans will hit millions of working people and cut £180 a year from new working mums who take maternity leave to care for their babies.
Nick Clegg spoke yesterday about the difference between the Lib Dems “dogmatic liberalism” in opposition and their “pragmatic liberalism” in government – however, what the public want and deserve are politicians that will keep their word. People will not fooled by the Lib Dems duplicity and complicity in Government. Trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes will not work.
The Lib Dems continue to prop up David Cameron’s government which is failing on jobs and growth. Five years on from becoming Leader of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg should think about the people who voted for the Party on the basis of their manifesto commitments, and give a proper apology and a declaration that from now on he will stick to his promises.