In the week when student protest over tuition fees reaches a climax, public support and money for the Liberal Democrats is collapsing all the time. And it is now even more in hock to one of the banks that provoked the financial crisis in the first place
In article in the Tribune this week http://bit.ly/eC4Xb5 I point out that the party has had a bad time in recent local council by-elections getting as few as 10, 45 and 98 votes in some cases. It is also in an appalling financial situation getting less money in the last quarter than UKIP and relying on a big donation from the taxpayer via the Electoral Commission to keep afloat. Only after the 2005 election were the figures worse.
A closer look at the party loan book reveals a delicious further irony – the party is actually being bank rolled on a £1m indefinite loan from the discredited Royal Bank of Scotland – the bank of Fred ” the Shred” Goodwin- which itself is being bailed out by the taxpayer and subject to a still secret report from the Financial Services Authority.
Given Vincent Cable’s high-profile attacks on the banks for the poor lending, the business secretary is much more cautious in lending his party money than RBS. He gave a £10,000 interest free loan to the party on April 13 but demanded his money back, insisting it was repaid on May 25. He was one of only two donors post the election who wanted their money back pronto, the other more understandably being Susan Kramer, defeated by Zac Goldsmith in Richmond.
As for local elections performance the best guide is on this website http://bit.ly/fWKVmT . Although it shows a small overall gain of four for the Liberal Democrats, this can be accounted for entirely by their performance on general election day,May 6, where they made a few gains. Since then, apart from taking one seat from the Tories and a couple from Independents in Cornwall, they have slumped.
And all of this is before the cuts and tax rises have to bite and student fees go through the roof.
No wonder Vince Cable wanted his money back. He’ll need it for his retirement.