'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Tories are complaining we're getting in the way. We must be doing something right...

Thanks to Nick Thornsby who tweeted round this piece yesterday. It's from Tim Montgomerie in The Evening Standard and he's blaming us for everything.

Here's a sample but do read the whole thing:

"Does Cameron have the strength to overcome Liberal Democrat resistance to human rights reform and a new approach to family and parenting? Will he find the money to invest in the kind of early intervention and anti-gang programmes that the Centre for Social Justice think-tank has proven are vital to change social behaviour? Will he have the guts to replace the current Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, with someone like David Davis, who will restore a tougher approach to prisons.

Many Liberal Democrats have calculated that the answer to all of these questions is "no". The junior partner in the coalition Government has studied the Prime Minister up close for more than a year now. Like many others who've had a ringside seat during Cameron's leadership, they've concluded that the Prime Minister is a master of the big occasion but is more hare than tortoise"

Now, Nick's worried that the take out from pieces like this may be "the Lib Dems are stopping businesses from getting going again, the economy's flat, it's all their fault." And certainly sections like this are a real concern:

"...the other big challenge is on the economic front. Throughout the past 12 months the Liberal Democrats have objected to measures that will supercharge the economy. The result is a lopsided Government that is cutting spending but isn't giving businesses the help they need to expand and take on new workers".

If this sort of attribution of blame was to become the norm, that would obviously be a huge issue.

But actually, overall, I think Tim Montgomerie's piece plays very well for us. Because it tells the world that the Lib Dems are not 'Diet Tory'. Rather, as I've often advocated on this blog, we are the brake on their worst excesses, we are the voice of reason, we are their conscience.

On it's own, this is not enough. We still need to be credited for delivering radical, liberal policies that enhance the lives and life chances of every individual. And there is much work for us to do here, both in execution and communication.

But if we're also credited with making David Cameron and his party more liberal - I'm all for it.

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