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Exploit weaknesses in Tory coalition

This article is over 12 years, 2 months old
The Tory/Lib Dem coalition is trying to push through massive cuts, but has a weak political base.
Issue 2204

The Tory/Lib Dem coalition is trying to push through massive cuts, but has a weak political base.

For a few days its faultlines remained hidden—now they are bursting into the open.

The lamentations at the demise of expenses-guzzling treasury secretary David Laws reveal how much the resignation of a single top cutter injures David Cameron’s confidence.

But of more lasting concern to Cameron will be fractures inside the Conservatives themselves.

The Tory right is outraged at plans to increase capital gains tax (which affects 250,000 second home owners and those who make profits of over £10,000 a year from shares).

So great is their anger that both John Redwood and David Davies have publicly denounced Cameron’s very modest (and getting more modest) plans.

Such fissures will not go away as rows deepen over the cuts.

Now the Gaza slaughter threatens to make some Lib Dems wonder why they are in government with the Tories.

They remember that during the 2008-9 Israel attack on Gaza, Nick Clegg called on Labour to “condemn unambiguously Israel’s tactics” and demanded an immediate arms boycott of Israel by Britain and the European Union.

Over the past ten days we have glimpsed the coalition’s future: the Tory right straining for a more nakedly open class policy; the Lib Dems torn between desire to stay in power and pressure to retain a shred of radicalism; and the scale of the cuts project causing dismay that the government is too weak to implement them in full.

But the coalition can survive unless it faces serious resistance from our side.

Splits at the top should encourage resistance from below. And the divisions can make it easier for our side to win.

The immediate focus is to back every fightback, especially at British Airways, and to build big protests on Tuesday 22 June—budget day.


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