|Lib Dems - The Walking Dead of British Politics? (Article here)|
Lib Dem policy, and Huhne himself, had previously been in favour of closing down the UK's nuclear power stations and not replacing them - highlighting both the dangers from accidents and waste and the ludicrous cost of the sector, which draws billions of pounds in subsidies from the taxpayer to keep afloat. Huhne now disingenuously claims that a new generation of nuclear power stations should be counted into the lists in the struggle against global warming, ignoring the evidence that, aside from all the other drawbacks, their manufacture requires massive carbon emissions.
Alexis Rowell also attacked the Lib Dems' record in the Coalition, warning of the dangers to the social fabric of the country and the damage to public services. His defection to the Greens comes only days after the London riots, seen by many as at least in part fuelled by the social exclusion of large swathes of the populace. It also comes during a reactionary backlash led by the Tories and Lib Dem leader Clegg, with barely whispered reservations and perfunctory handwringing from a handful of Lib Dem MPs.
The evidence, last Thursday, in an Edinburgh by-election though is that, while Tory voters are relatively content with the easy-ride being given to their policies by their Coalition partners, the Lib Dems are being deserted in droves - in what had been a rather incredulous five-way marginal, their vote share collapsed from just under 20% and third place to 7% and sixth (and bottom) place (they had come first in the ward in 2007). There may have been a few votes affected (both ways) by some local factors, but this is pretty much in line with the decline in their national poll ratings since the General Election. By contrast, it was the Greens' best ever local by-election performance in Scotland.
So eyes turn now to see how well Alexis Rowell can do in Camden for the Greens, increasingly seen as the genuine progressive alternative voice to the three managerialist mainstream parties, not just on the environment but on social and economic values too. As he left, he delivered a parting broadside to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrat leadership warning they are destroying the progressive soul of his (and my own) former party - you can read his letter on the "Another Green World" site by clicking HERE.