'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, 8 March 2012

"This fine coalition government won't see out 2013 - what a shame for Britain'. Peter Oborne in The Telegraph.

I find Peter Oborne something of an enigma. He writes as a Tory yet is fearless in calling issues however he sees them, regardless of the political tribe he attacks, even his own. He writes wonderfully well, yet when I see him on the TV I generally find him unconscionable - last time I saw him on Newsnight he was so rude to a European official they walked out of the interview.

Anyway it's the written Peter Oborne I am pondering today and in particular his incisive analysis of the Lib Dem political position we find ourselves in, published this morning. Every member of the party should read it - it's that good. We won't agree with an awful lot of it - he thinks, for example, that despite acknowledging the fixed 5 year term of the Parliament Act that our time in government is nearing an end. But there's a myriad of thought provoking ideas in there.

Here are a few choice extracts - but do read the whole thing. The first extract is from the end of the piece but I have put it first as sets the context for the rest.

"I write all this with sadness. Plenty of mistakes have been made since 2010, but this has nevertheless been the best government for a generation, led by men and women for the most part of decency and goodwill. Important steps have been taken towards addressing the financial deficit, while the reforms to welfare and education are essential to the health of Britain as a nation and will soon be irreversible".

"...coalitions are always disastrous for the smaller party. It gets swallowed up, blamed for the failures and only rarely credited with the successes, and then not nearly enough.
In some cases, as with the hapless Progressive Democrats, who never recovered from their alliance with Fianna Fáil and were dissolved in the wake of the 2007 Irish general election, the smaller party vanishes from history. But always it suffers heavy losses."
"It is important to remember that the Lib Dems and the Tories remain united on certain issues, above all the need to tackle the deficit. But on numerous others – Europe, tax, health, trade policy, family policy, constitutional reform – the two parties are polarised".
"The fact is that Mr Cable has a reasonably worked-out and coherent grasp of political economy, whether one agrees with it or not, and Mr Osborne does not. A large number of Tories want Mr Cable out. They are very stupid. Few things would damage Tory re-election chances more gravely than the Business Secretary on the back benches in partnership with the increasingly impressive Labour leader, Ed Miliband".

See. Great stuff. And in the context of @markpack s great infographic yesterday of Lib Dem achievements in government, extremely thought provoking. Do read the whole thing. It's worth it

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