Monday, August 31, 2009
Nick Clegg's holiday is not the Liberal Democrats' problem
James Graham had a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free site over the weekend complaining that Nick Clegg had gone on holiday in August.
But Nick has to take a holiday some time and it is not as if we don't have plenty of other people - Vince Cable, Chris Huhne, Charles Kennedy, Paddy Ashdown, Shirley Williams - whom the press would be very happy to interview instead. Besides, it is hard to think of a quieter political month than August.
Or did James have it in mind that Nick should repeat Jeremy Thorpe's 1974 hovercraft visits to the beaches of Southern England?
True, only a couple of months Nick was calling for the summer recess to be cancelled, but that seemed a little foolish even at the time. What was important was the Liberal Democrat proposals for reforming the Commons, not treating MPs like naughty schoolboys to curry favour with the press and public.
The real problem for the Liberal Democrats is that when we are invited on to television programmes, in August or any other month, we don't always have enough of interest to say.
Take the recent coverage of exam results and truancy figures. What have we given David Laws to say? That we think primary school standards are important and that we think truancy is a bad thing. Little there to woo people away from Labour of the Tories.
Perhaps if we all took more hoidays we would have the time to work out ideas that would inspire the voters?