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Man of Principle by Steve Payne

Author 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 Great Britain.

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 in 2006.

"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 recession.

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 expediency.

Author 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 Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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