As the Lib Dem conference gets underway this weekend, it’s important to remember that just over two years ago, the party was propping up the Tories and helping deliver the Government’s damaging austerity agenda. With Coalition Cabinet Minister Vince Cable now at the helm, we can be more certain than ever; the Lib Dems can’t be trusted.
After June’s General Election it seemed like every Lib Dem left in Parliament lined up to say they were ready for the top job. But when faced with the enormity of the challenge in tackling the Lib Dems’ reputation as a party of broken promises, candidates dropped off quickly.
With a shrug it was accepted that Vince Cable was the only person willing to take the job. Former leader Tim Farron declared “this is the time for a fresh start”, but no one, except for Nick Clegg, is more to blame for the promises they broke during those five long years aside the Tories, than Vince Cable.
As the former Secretary of State in charge of universities it was his department that broke the Lib Dem pledge to scrap tuition fees and treble them instead. There were no fees when he studied at university for eight years in his youth, but now he says that scrapping fees of £9,000 a year would be “dangerous and stupid”.
In private he boasted that he could “bring the government down”, but in reality he sat at the Cabinet table with David Cameron and George Osborne and joined the Tories in voting lobbies week in and week out.
He promised not to increase VAT on working families, and then did just that. He voted for the Bedroom Tax and the pay cap still squeezing public sector workers today. He said bankers had to pay their fair share before voting against a banker’s bonus tax and backing Tory tax breaks for millionaires.
He backed the Tories all the way on running our public services into the ground. He personally oversaw the privatisation of Royal Mail as Business Secretary and over five years he voted with the Tories as they cut pay for public sector workers, starved councils of funding and let housebuilding hit its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.
All this flies in the face of his preposterous claim that his party will offer a “marked contrast to the icy indifference of this Conservative government”.
So during their conference we must not forget that the Lib Dems, now, even more than when under Tim Farron, can’t be trusted. He and his party broke their promises, supported the Tories’ cruel austerity agenda, and would happily do it again.