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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tory manifesto fiasco highlights dangers of no opposition

When Theresa May called this election she no doubt envisaged that her party would walk back into power with a massive majority, freed from all those pesky small-l liberal commitments hung over from the coalition and David Cameron's re-election in 2015. She would have been confident in that belief because of the weak opposition she faces both in Parliament and in the country.

It may well be that she is proved right but if she is then that victory will underline the fragility of our democracy and how much it depends on effective scrutiny and opposition.

Governments have had big majorities before of course but never in these circumstances. Labour in the House of Commons has shown that it can barely tie its own shoelaces, never mind put the Prime Minister under pressure on key policies. The other parties have been either too weak, or too obsessed with their own agenda to make a difference.

And now the UK faces an existential crisis as we look set to leave the EU and the single market on the worst possible terms, under a Prime Minister determined to turn Brexit into a test of strength of her own leadership, irrespective of the best interests of the country.

And it is not just Brexit. This week has seen a Tory Party wobble as their manifesto was published. That document demonstrated better than anything I can write here how little regard they have for the weakest and poorest in our society, and their arrogance at thinking they can get away with anything because of Labour's ineffectiveness.

Labour are making the right noises but they have capitulated on the key issues of the day  Brexit and freedom of movement. They have already signalled that they will let Theresa May get her own way on these issues, plunging the country into a potential economic crisis.

Only the Liberal Democrats are arguing against leaving the single market, in favour of free trade and freedom of movement and in favour of giving people the final say on whatever deal is struck with the EU, whilst also wanting to invest in our health service and in education.

We cannot allow the Tories to eviscerate our democracy, our economy and our future. We need an opposition who will stand up to them and hold them to account for the unholy mess they are threatening in that manifesto. Only the Liberal Democrats can do that, if we get enough MPs elected on 8th June.
It would suit Corbyn to have an economic crisis for then the poor will demonstrate in the streets (he hopes). he can then come to the rescue and get his socialist ways.
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