I am conscious that I've now written two posts criticizing our line of attack/defence in the media after last Thursday, and it's time I took a positive line for a bit. And indeed, I think the right narrative is emerging. But I'll post on that later. I need to get 2 other things off my chest first.
To begin. I don't like this line we're spinning about 75% of our manifesto is being implemented vs. 60% of the Tories. It's a great message for the members - it reminds us why the pain is worth it. But what does it say to the electorate? It says that most of the pain is our fault, not the Tories. I thought we were trying to say the opposite of that? It also can be interpreted as saying 'a large proportion of Lib Dem policy and Tory policy are identical' (as the total is greater than 100%). Of course it doesn't say that at all if you think about it for a minute. But I promise you, people are currently not giving us that minute. And finally, as the estimatable Lord Bonkers has pointed out, while we have been granted a few 'big ticket' items (er, referendum on electoral reform anyone?) much of the 75% is detailed policy wonk stuff.
So, in short, that's a duff line. Stop spinning it.
Much less problematic but still flawed is the Paddy Ashdown line of 'compromise isn't betrayal'. This would have been a great line 6 months ago. Unfortunately, we went with 'not a cigarette paper between us'. Having hung our hat on policies like tuition fees and the size of the cuts as being absolutely right and necessary, to now say it was a compromise we weren't that keen on seems likely to fail - there will be a lot of quotes flung back at us, sharpish.
But as I say, it is better. In fact it's close to the right answer. Which I'll be blogging about later....
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