David Maddox: Did Lib Dems did act as Tory brake?

PERHAPS the Lib Dems were right after all, writes David Maddox

Perhaps Lib Dem MPs like Danny Alexander were right? Picture: John Devlin

The sound of eight MPs is not particularly loud especially if they are trying not to be squeezed off the benches by 56 Scottish Nationalists. But if we listen carefully we might be able to hear voices from the ruins of the Liberal Democrats saying: “We told you so.”

For five years as the party took a battering in government for giving David Cameron the keys to Downing Street, the Lib Dems claimed that it was they who were the brake on the excesses of the Conservative Party. So convinced were they of this message that they made it the central plank of their election campaign.

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But it was to no avail. For many, the decision to do a deal with the Conservatives was betrayal enough but the issue over tuition fees was the killer blow. From then on, nobody listened to Nick Clegg or Danny Alexander or any of the Lib Dem’s MPs.

When it came to voting day the electorate decided to punish the junior partner in the austerity coalition and reward the larger party with an actual majority. So with an unfettered Tory majority, we can now see what having the Lib Dems removed from government has done.

The fact George Osborne felt the need to call an emergency Budget for this week, just a few months after the coalition Budget, was a big clue in that it meant enormous changes.

Even before Mr Osborne gets to his feet tomorrow we haves clues about what we might expect.

Among the items is a raid on the BBC funding by transferring the cost of free licenses for the elderly to the corporation. More controversial is slashing working tax credits for those on low pay. Then there is the regional benefit cap which means in areas outside London, households will be restricted to even less than £23,000 a year. All these items are part of a whacking £12 billion of welfare cuts. His plans for a Budget surplus are aimed at producing a permanently smaller state.

The Tories have also come up with a much stronger version of English votes for English laws to lock out Scottish MPs. They are pushing to scrap the Human Rights Act and bring in the Snoopers Charter which will give the intelligence agencies and others the right to look at our e-mails and personal messages.

The Tories are looking at bringing back fox hunting in England, they are selling off the Green Investment Bank and the rest of the post office.

This has all happened in just two months since the election. There is plenty more to come.

Those who cursed Danny Alexander and his colleagues before the election may wish to pause to think - maybe they were right, and they really did hold back the Tories.