Man of Principle by Steve Payne
says: what if the 2010 general election did create the Progressive
Coalition (as proposed by Gordon Brown) but only after a split in the Lib-Dems?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily
reflect the views of the author(s).
In 2010, on August 6th
Charles Kennedy led an exodus of anti-Coalition MPs out of the Liberal
Democrat Party following the publication of economic data which vindicated
his prediction that deep budget cuts would lead to a double dip recession in
Undoubtedly one of the most outstanding parliamentarians of his generation,
Kennedy first became an MP at the age of just twenty-three, the youngest
member in the House of Commons. And demonstrating an independent and
inquiring mind which conceived a new Liberal consensus, he rose to the
position of party leader in 1999, taking a firm stand against the Iraq War.
Despite leading the Liberal Democrats to their largest ever share of the
vote, he was disgraced by allegations of binge drinking and forced to resign
"Don't expect me to f*#cking support you"Following
the less than stellar outcome of the 2010 general election, the party
decided to form a coalition with the Conservative Party, although Kennedy -
now a backbencher - abstained on the original vote. Ironically, Kennedy had
done more to prepare the party for Government than its pin-up boy scout
leader, Nick Clegg, a private school educated political lightweight with a
privileged social background. In fact, he was a Tory
in all but name. And so when Clegg's political partner, Conservative Leader
David Cameron offered his hand to the ex Lib Dem leader in the Commons,
Kennedy did not rise from his seat, instead,
he hissed: "Don't expect me to f*#cking support you". Kennedy later
approached a Labour MP in the hope of trying to form a "pair" for some
votes. "I don't want to vote for these b*stards," he explained to the rather
surprised Labour backbencher.
"I don't want to vote for these b*stards"The
trouble for the Liberal Democrats was that Kennedy was absolutely right.
Because on June 22nd, Chancelleor George Osbourne announced the
harshest budget cuts in many years. The coalition was self-evidently a
no-win situation for the Liberal Democrats who were simply providing cover
for the Tories who could implement a cuts programme that produced a deep
Kennedy would now reach out to the Labour Party to begin the formation of a
Progressive Coalition which had been proposed by Gordon Brown in the
immediate aftermath of the general election. This time however, it was an
idea whose time had come around because it was driven by principle and not
says content has been repurposed from the source content from an
articles "Charlie Kennedy: he 'aint a fan of the coalition" published June
21st in the Evening Standard by Paul Waugh, James Macintyre "Charles
Kennedy: man of principle" published in the New Statesman on June 21st . To
view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
Today in Alternate History web site.
Steve Payne, Editor of
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