Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Baby Thatchers

On the Today programme, Guy Verhofstadt, known in his day as "Baby Thatcher", clearly assumed that any Liberal would be in favour of a legally binding restriction of deficit spending to three per cent of GDP, and therefore that that was the root of support for the Euro Pact on the part of Lib Dems.

What he could not comprehend was why anyone from the Liberalised Conservative Party that idolises Alfred Roberts's daughter could possibly have been against such a restriction. Nor, for that matter, can I. Tories, Gaullists and Christian Democrats, you could understand, indeed expect. But none of the parties using those monikers today in Britain, France and Germany is really any such thing at leadership level, and everyone knows it.

On the part of Nick Clegg, a Continental Liberal who knows little or nothing about either Liberalism or Social Democracy in Britain, Verhofstadt was right. But the rest of that other Baby Thatcher's party needs to ask itself why it is so devoted, not only to him, but also to a legislative body which meets in secret and publishes no Official Report, to the legislative will of the assorted illiberal anti-democrats who turn up both in that body and in the European Parliament, to the Common Agricultural Policy, to the Common Fisheries Policy (which hits many of their constituencies particularly hard - no wonder that UKIP has topped the poll for Strasbourg twice in a row in Cornwall, including when that county was returning only Lib Dems to Westminster), and to everything from the Maastricht convergence criteria to the latest legally binding restriction of deficit spending to three per cent of GDP.

Both the Liberal Party and the SDP still exist.


  1. Sir,

    Whilst we have certainly had our differences with the Coalition Government, the Liberal Party would like to place on the record our support for David Cameron in his use of the UK veto to block the the proposed ‘Euro-rescue’ treaty. It is our contention that the terms of the proposed treaty left him with little option, not least because it required the elected governments of member states to submit their budgets the unelected European Commission for approval, thus divesting members states of any shred of economic sovereignty that they may have had left.

    We note that the increasingly hapless Nick Clegg has gone from being ‘entirely comfortable’ with the use of the veto to being ‘bitterly dissappointed’ almost overnight. We wonder if there is any demand that the EU could make to which Nick Clegg would not enthusiastically sign up, but then again he still wants the UK to join the Euro - and thereby makes himself the only rat in history who wants to join a sinking ship!

    It is a pity that he has never expressed ‘bitter regret’ over student tuition fees or public sector cuts, or any of the other principles upon which he turned his back for a taste of power.

    Yours faithfully

    Daniel Wood
    Chair of the Policy Committee
    The Liberal Party


    Remember, we were part of No2EU - Yes to Democracy.