It is Seven long years since the fateful decision to join with the Conservatives to form a Coalition Government.  We have seen the unravelling of Liberal Britain :- first the defeat of Electoral reform at the 2011 AV Referendum. Then Defeat in Europe at the 2014 European Parliament Elections, Defeat at the 2015 General Election, and the bitterest defeat of all : the EU Referendum. All of this has flowed from the Coalition Agreement.

The Failure of the party to fight our corner on our principles. Free Access to Higher Education was abandoned without a fight and the Students were sold down the river over Tuition Fees. The opposition to Austerity was dropped and we signed up for cuts which has seen a fall in Wages, Living Standards and a rise in Child Poverty. The Third Tory policy which appeared in the 2010 Coalition Agreement was a unstinting commitment to the £56bn High Speed Two (HS2). Our Great Party was an early advocate of High Speed Rail Network after John Thurso proposed a £14bn Scotland-London HSR Network. But instead of challenging Labour and Conservative plans we rubber stamped the flawed HS2 process with unquestioning enthusiasm. Baroness Kramer, Norman Baker and Baroness Randerson have all fallen under the HS2 spell. The benefits of HS2 were overstated, the Costs (£100-200bn) underestimated, the connectivity limited, the impacts ignored and the environmental flaws overlooked. This is a policy the Green Party has got right. 

We ought to have listened to Liberal Democrat Councillor Quentin Macdonald from York, a highly experience Rail Engineer whose Rail Advocacy Group : High Speed UK has produced a devastating critique of the HS2 failures and a viable alternative which achieves all the goals HS2 set itself and failed to deliver. Linking to Heathrow Airport, Linking to HS1 and Europe, Linking to Scotland, Linking Directly London and the North, all objectives HS2 has dropped in cost reduction programmes. Now evidence in the Guardian Newspaper shows Northern Communities have been deliberately deprived of tunnel mitigation which Southern Communities successfully fought for. At the same time plans for High Speed Three or Cross Rail for the North have been emasculated into a slow train botched patchwork which suffers from  a lack of authority and funding. The Recent HS2 Phase 2B decision has been successfully challenged by communities over the depot, the cost justification, the property data and the secrecy around the routes used to reach the decision.  A Lib Dem alternative which would save £21bn across the UK and £5.5bn in the North has been overlooked by the party despite efforts by Leeds MP Greg Mullholland to get the party to examine our own policy. Sheffield Liberal Democrats have welcomed the bypassing of their city by an HS2 full service and full station which has allowed HS2 Limited to save £1bn and bypass South Yorkshire. 

It is time we gave up on failed Tory Toxic ideas : Tuition Fees, HS2 and Austerity, and said sorry for giving up on our own ideas. Only then can we unite people around our party and defeat Brexit.