UK Politics

Lib Dem views: Coalition Future

What do delegates at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool think the future holds for the coalition government?


I am confident it will last for five years. I believe strongly they will not want to give Labour a chance. The one issue that will cause most difficulty is unemployment. The Lib Dem policy is to help the poor while the Conservatives' is to help the rich. The government must create more jobs. People are willing to work but they are not enough jobs readily available.


Key personalities have to concentrate on working together. There has to be compromise and so far it has been reasonably positive. But we are hitting a danger point quite quickly with the cuts. I think it will put a strain on the whole population. The coalition is not a quick fix. It has to produce results in five years. It is important that Lib Dems retain their own integrity.


If the coalition were to fail, it would be a catastrophe for the country. It is difficult to see who would replace it. Having another general election is not going to resolve it. It you imagine a Venn diagram, there is a big overlap between centrist Tories and the majority of the Lib Dems. There are some differences but hopefully they can be overcome. There is going to be further friction about tuition fees but not enough to wreck the coalition.


On our side we had no choice who to turn to after what we said. I think there is a definite overlap of thinking between the different leaderships. Of course economic questions are vitally important and there have been definite tensions. That is the area most likely to split it. Either the right wing getting so fed up looking after the poor and damaging the interests of the rich, or vice versa.


I think it will definitely last because there is a commitment to make it work. If there is a willingness to make it work among the decision-makers, it can be made to work. From that comes respect and the ability to compromise. I think there is an expectation there will be a great deal of disruption, particularly from the press. You never know what is around the corner and I don't believe anyone can point to one issue. Anything is possible.