Friday, May 24, 2019

You plonker, Danny

With the polling stations having been closed for almost 24 hours, I think it is safe to call Sir Daniel Grian Alexander a plonker.

You plonker, Danny.

We will debate the rights and wrong of going into coalition in 2010 as long as there are Liberal Democrats.

For my own part, I would say the electoral arithmetic, Labour's unwillingness to talk and our own wariness about a second election made some sort of deal with the Tories inevitable. And I said so at the time.

There does seem to be a consensus now that we were too anxious to show how responsible we were and that a confidence and supply arrangement would have served us better.

And I would suggest that our arrival in government showed that we lacked a core of Liberal Democrat policies that we all wanted to see implemented. We have tended of late to be stronger on values than policy.

But all that said, in a week when we had lifelong Labour voters seriously considering voting for us, Danny's tweet was not helpful.

Hang out with old friends by all means, but you needn't tell everyone about it until after the polls have closed.


David said...

I supported the coalition at the time and spoke in favour at the special conference, but I did successfully move an amendment to say that we remained an independent party able to develop our own policies. That is precisely how Clegg and Alexander did NOT run the coalition. The public never knew the difference between Tories and Liberals because we avoided telling them. Government and parliament structures maintain the bipolar model of a united government and an opposition. We never broke free from that.

David Evans said...

David's amendment was very appropriate but as he said, Nick totally ignored it. However, what is more disappointing is that no-one (of any significant influence) in the Lib Dems seemed to think that they should do anything about it at all.

The simple fact is that modern politics moves way too fast for the traditional bottom up ways that the Lib Dems use (as a party that aspires to be open and participative and let its members make policy and influence its leaders) to ensure its membership and leadership are on the same page.

We often make the claim that members make policy, but when a leader chooses to deliberately ignore that policy, there is nothing to be done about it other than the impossibly difficult nuclear option of 75 local parties separately calling for a leadership election. Conference can vote again on it, as was the case with Secret Courts, but nothing changed and Nick carried on regardless.

If we are to build that fair, free and open society we all aspire to, we need to develop a mechanism that embeds those values in our own mechanisms that are fit for the 21st century so that our members can express their views and concerns and they can be acted on quickly and effectively.

The trouble is, three years after the debacle, we still haven't started.

Frank Little said...

I agree with both Davids.

I would add that I found it remarkable that the only leading Liberal Democrats with skeletons in their cupboards were those with strong economic credentials, David Laws and Chris Huhne. Former PR man Danny Alexander could hardly present an intellectual challenge to Osborne.