Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A word to Tim Farron's therapist

As a life-long Liberal I can not say that I share Tim Farron's professed need for therapy about the coalition. I am not a Conservative, I have never been a Conservative and I am not going to become a Conservative because of the coalition. Yet it is precisely because I am not a Conservative that I don't need therapy.

For the first time in my life time, and indeed my parents lifetimes, Liberalism has a leading place in government. We have senior Liberal Democrat ministers who are leading the debate in this country, and more to the point are enacting Liberal policies

Our ministers, with no little political courage, are enacting policies, such as the steady increase in the tax threshold to £10,000 which would not be enacted at all without our leadership.

Sure government is not easy, and we have on occasion been outmanoeuvred - particularly in the early days, and notably on tuition fees, which cost us dearly. However, I see several announcements every week that show, while the Tories worry about the future of the EU, over which they currently have little or no control, our ministers are making changes now that are having a practical and positive impact to everyone's daily lives.

At least half, and arguably a greater majority, of the policies that the Liberal Democrats are backing in the coalition are Liberal Democrat policies.

If I was Tim Farron's therapist, I would tell him, in his own interest, to pull his socks up, straighten his tie and go back out to proclaim the success of the Liberal Democrats in government.

Comparing this coalition with the supposed virtues of a single party government- say, under Gordon Brown- and I will take the harmonious policy splits, the lack of personal rancour and the discipline shown by the MPs of both parties every day of the week.

There is no point in being half-hearted: the coalition government under truly appalling economic circumstances is making progress, and we should be certainly not be ashamed of the Liberal Democrat ministers who are making this happen.

We don't know if the electorate will recognize this work in 2015, but there is still a chance that they may.

If, of course Mr. Farron was just seeking to put a marker down for a leadership bid in the event of defeat, I guarantee that these kind of comments will not endear him to his Parliamentary colleagues or even more than a small group of the membership.

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