>The 5 stages of grief….I mean government

>For the Liberal Democrats, the formation of a coalition government seems to have caused wide spread introspection, with party members questioning their core values and  seeing whether this new government fits. Not surprisingly for Liberal Democrats, there is a range of responses varying from the sublime to the ridiculous. The process many people have gone through is akin to the 5 stages of grieving:

Stage 1-denial: “Surely we are not going to be in government with THE TORIES“. “It will never happen, not with THE TORIES“. Then, when Cameron and Clegg were seen cosying up in the rose garden, this developed into ‘its ok, it will never last, not with THE TORIES“.

Stage 2-anger: Many of the left of the party spent a lot of time at this stage. “How dare Nick Clegg BETRAY us”. People going through this stage often claim that this government will lead to the electoral demolition of the Lib Dems, as they are made to pay for TORY CUTS. This stage can also involve the cutting up of membership cards, and donating £1 to the Labour party membership fire-sale.

Stage 3-barganing: A lot of those who got passed the anger dive into this stage. “It’s ok, it was only because of the numbers,” and “we would have been in government with Labour if Ed Balls wasn’t so foul”. The slightly more positive reaction to this stage is members who rattle off things that Liberal Democrats have achieved in government as a late night mantra to help them sleep. Linked to this is the increased sales of ‘The Orange Book’.

Stage 4-depression: Many Liberal Democrats found themselves unable to, shock horror, deliver leaflets, even after coming through the previous stages. Other symptoms of this stage can be a refusal to turn up to meetings, pick up the phone, or answer emails. This stage has been compounded as Liberal Democrat members read polling data, and tweets from Labour trolls, telling them that nobody likes them anymore.

Despite all this, the membership needs to hurry up and get to…

Stage 5-acceptance: This coalition does look it is going to last, and quite a lot of Liberal Democrat policy is going to be implemented. Certainly there will be a lot more implemented than if the Lib Dems were sitting on the opposition benches still. No not everything will be perfect, by the Conservatives feel the same. For a party that promotes electoral systems that inevitably bring about coalition government, the Lib Dem membership needs to be prepared to accept that this means nobody gets everything. Daniel Finkelstein made an excellent point in the Times, saying that if the Lib Dems will only ever go into coalition with Labour, what is the point of them existing as a separate party?

So, its time to move through the stages, and get on with governing-the party has waited 90 years for it. For Liberal Democrats that should mean bringing in greater freedoms to this country, winning a referendum to bring in a fairer voting system, and not standing naval gazing for one minute longer.


One Comment to “>The 5 stages of grief….I mean government”

  1. >Amen, especially to the points you make in stage 5!"For a party that promotes electoral systems that inevitably bring about coalition government, the Lib Dem membership needs to be prepared to accept that this means nobody gets everything."This is the crucial point – either we accept the need for compromise in politics and support PR (with AV as step along that road), or we don't and support FPTP. You can't mix the two and make sense.

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