A nice quote from Labour’s Kim Howells on the failure of Labour and the Lib Dems to cut a deal;
“I tell you why it’s been rejected by most Labour MPs – because they know that they’re a bunch of opportunistic toerags, who’ll say anything to anyone in order to get power. And they’ve done it this time, they’ve got power.”
And here is what Lord Adonis, the cabinet member most supportive of a deal with the Lib Dems, had to say about Nick Clegg and his negotiating team;
“It is clear from their conduct in recent days that the Lib Dem leadership was dead set on a coalition with the Tories,” he said. “They should have been straight about this fact rather than playing silly games with myself, Gordon Brown and others. Nick Clegg’s deal with the Conservatives is a matter of choice not necessity.”
Looking at some of the policies already agreed by the two, it seems like even their principles are easily bought.
* There will be a “significant acceleration” of efforts to reduce the budget deficit – including £6bn of spending reductions this year. An emergency Budget will take place within 50 days
* Plans for five-year, fixed-term parliaments, meaning the next election would not take place until May 2015
* The Lib Dems have agreed to drop plans for a “mansion tax” on properties costing more than £2m, while the Conservatives have ditched their pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m
* The new administration will scrap part of Labour’s planned rise in National Insurance and will work towards raising income tax thresholds for lower earners
* A pledge to have a referendum on any further transfer of powers to the EU and a commitment from the Lib Dems not to adopt the euro for the lifetime of the next Parliament
* The Lib Dems have agreed to Tory proposals for a cap on non-EU migration
* The Conservatives will recognise marriage in the tax system, but Lib Dems will abstain in Commons vote
* The Lib Dems will drop opposition to a replacement for Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles but the
programme will be scrutinised for value for money
* There will be a referendum on moving to the Alternative Vote system and enhanced “pupil premium” for deprived children as Lib Dems demanded
Basically, the Lib Dems have just rolled over and given up much of what they fought the election on and the Tories have given them a few minor concessions and five seats in the cabinet, including the meaningless post of “deputy PM” for Clegg.