Here’s an intriguing thought. This Friday marks the 90th anniversary of the Carlton Club rebellion of Tory MPs against the coalition with the Liberals. It forced David Lloyd George‘s resignation as prime minister. Could the Liberal Democrats exert revenge nine decades later by bringing down David Cameron in similar dramatic fashion?
The 1922 Tory backbenchers were unhappy with the coalition, especially after it nearly went to war with Turkey in the Chanak crisis. The party’s leaders wanted to continue the coalition, but the backbenchers won the day. Lloyd George was out, never again to hold office. King George V said he was sorry to see him go, but added that ‘Some day he will be prime minister again’. The king was wrong.
The Liberal Democrats have proved spineless in coalition. They broke their election pledge on student fees. They cravenly allowed the Tories to break their own promise not to reorganise the NHS. They have let the Tories wreak havoc with brutal spending cuts that have plunged us into a double dip recession. The list goes on. Will they one day reach breaking point and say ‘no more’?
Sceptics will say it’s unlikely. The Lib Dems face disaster at the next election – so why would they prompt an early election? (Assuming that’s even possible after the coalition legislated for a fixed term.) And the Lib Dem ministers are clearly enjoying the privileges of office.
But who can tell what pressures may build up over the next 30 months. We may yet see the creation of the Liberal Democrats’ 2014 committee, named after the year of the great rebellion that ended David Cameron’s political career…