No good deed goes unpunishedDavid Cameron's speech two days before the poll threatening the Great British Public with total uncertainty if they voted Liberal Democrat seems to have had its effect. The voters were clearly already feeling the benefits of the steady improvement in the economy, something which was predicted even as the coalition government was bedding in. This feeling has not yet been reflected in surveys, still less in Labour rhetoric, but it must be here and the voters did not want to risk losing it. We Liberal Democrats have suffered, even though we have been the most consistent party on the economy over the last twenty years and Liberal Democrat ministers have contributed most to the factors which have enabled the UK economy to recover better than most from the events of 2007/8.
Even Conservative spokespeople have expressed their regret over the unfairness of the results, voters giving the benefit of the improvements introduced by the Liberal Democrats to the majority party while assigning the blame for the unpopular decisions of the coalition to the smaller party.
Our future in the EU looks doubtfulNever mind the 2017 referendum, the Conservatives' attitude to the European Convention of Human Rights, bolstered by the big increase in the UKIP vote share, is going to sour relations with the EU. The Human Rights Act, which guarantees citizens access to UK courts in order to assert their rights, is certain to go if Cameron is true to his pre-election commitment. (Incidentally, overlooked by the commentators has been the loss of Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone, who have fought lonely battles on women's issues in government. There is nobody as progressive likely to come forward from the Conservative benches.)
What a majority Conservative government can doFirst, they will look to force through the reduction in the size of the House of Commons and redrawing of boundaries which was blocked by Nick Clegg in the wake of the failure to push through Lords Reform. Naturally, Cameron will also claim that the natural order of things has been restored under a first-past-the-post system and therefore voting reform has been pushed back for at least another five years.
Secondly, the move to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and afflicted will be accelerated.
There is no chance that the cuts to housing benefit will be reversed.
Thirdly, Trident replacement will go ahead, possibly at the expense of further armed forces manpower reductions. There will be enough Labour support for this to force it through, even if there is a change of Labour leadership.
There will be other things which LibDems were able to prevent in the last five years, like no-fault dismissal.