In this new age of heightened media speculation, the Liberal Democrats must be whiter than white. While Labour and the Tories can survive petty scandals and find safety in numbers, we must be even more squeaky clean to pass the test.I think this is wrong for two reasons.
The first is that it assumes that if Liberal Democrats live unimpeachable lives then the right-wing press will leave them alone. As Mark Pack has been arguing on the news today, the reality is that if Chris Huhne resigns then the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph will not go away: they will pick on the next Lib Dem target. However moral we are, those newspapers will not leave us alone.
The second reason is that we are paying the price for presenting ourselves as being cleaner than the other parties in the past. This must be intensely irritating to our opponents and offers an infinite number of hostages to fortune. In the absence of other evidence I find it natural to assume that you will find the same percentages of good and bad people in every party.
It also suggests a weakness elsewhere. We should not be asking people to vote for us because we are better people or because we work harder than the other parties. We should be asking them to vote for us because we have good judgement and a convincing set of solutions to the problems the country faces.