An interesting piece in the Independent today (words I seldom utter any more) with the paper's political editor Andrew Grice drawing the following admission from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg:
Got that? There was never any prospect that the Lib Dems would provide a political home for disaffected left-wingers who couldn't bring themselves to vote Labour. So who were the gullible people who failed to see this and rashly endorsed the party? Clegg means Guardian leader writers, their colleagues at the Observer, their competitors at the Independent, the likes of Sunny Hundal who edits the popular Liberal Conspiracy website and the muppets who cheered themselves hoarse for the Lib Dem leader as though he was a conquering hero, in the misguided belief that he planned to help 'Take Back Parliament'.
"There were some people, particularly around the height of the Iraq war, who gave up on the Labour Party and turned to the Liberal Democrats as a sort of left-wing conscience of the Labour Party."
"I totally understand that some of these people are not happy with what the Lib Dems are doing in coalition with the Conservatives. The Lib Dems never were and aren't a receptacle for left-wing dissatisfaction with the Labour Party. There is no future for that; there never was."
Others were far too savvy to be so easily fooled and knew what the consequences would be, even though the prospect of voting Labour instead was unedifying at best and impossible for many. But the reason it was possible to pull the wool over some people's eyes is a simple one: promises of electoral reform, a favourite fixation of middle-class, Westminster-obsessed 'progressives', blinded them to the realities of the Lib Dems' broader, yellow-Tory politics and the 'nasty shock' they had planned for us.
Those who voted Lib Dem now know they made a terrible mistake, which they can make up for by throwing themselves into opposing the government's cuts programme. Hell, we all make mistakes at some point in our lives. But I reckon that in future, they should consider more carefully whether a 'fairer' way to choose between candidates where no real choice exists is really more important than, I don't know, the uncertainty and fear now facing working-class public sector workers. It's only a shame, as I discovered today, that Clegg's government has rejected a call to include 'None of the Above' on ballot forms. At least I would have a choice worth dragging myself to the polling booths for.