Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Being beastly to the Lib Dems

The first Prime Minister's Questions to a Liberal Leader since 1922 (and I'm not sure they had PMQs back in Lloyd George's day) was from new Labour MP for Gateshead, Ian Mearns. So thank you to Ian for kick starting a historic occasion for the Lib Dems. I describe Ian as "new Labour" rather than "New Labour" as I am led to believe the latter has completely collapsed. Ian is "new" as in new MP. I have no idea whether or not Ian would like the description of himself as "New Labour". He was one of those people in the Labour Party who in the 1980s militantly held to his socialism but then jumped into bed with the Blairite Labour Party in the 90s quicker than it takes to form a Coalition Government! Anyway, I digress. Back to PMQs.

Whilst I find the chairing of debates by Speaker John Bercow normally to be fair, he behaved today more like the leader of the Jack Straw fan club. He allowed Straw to ramble on for ages. Only once did he tell Straw to speed up (and then let him ramble on for ages more). But he also stopped Nick from finishing an answer to a question.

Other than Afghanistan, Straw went for Nick on the Sheffield Forgemasters loan issue. Whilst I appreciate this is a major issue in Sheffield, for the rest of the country it is simply a Sheffield issue. The fact that Straw focused mainly on a provincial issue in an attempt to have a go at Nick meant that Labour lost an opportunity to speak to the nation about national matters. Labour however are completely obsessed with having a go at the Lib Dems, to the exclusion of the issues that matter to most people. It makes them feel good to be beastly to the Lib Dems but its not the sort of behaviour that will give them victory at the general election in 2015.


kevin scott said...


A good word to describe Ian Mearns and his frends back in the 1980s.

A certain 'newspaper' spring to mind, anyone?

Darlington Councillor said...

Jonathan - the LibDems are just going to have to toughen up, I'm afraid. The shed load of anger which is being directed at your party for its part in the BSF farrago and the early (and wholly unecessary) ConDem cuts will be as nothing when the full enormity of Osborne's slashing of public spending becomes apparent.

At the end of the day, we know and expect the Tories to want to reduce the role of the state to a stunted echo of what was before - as Ed Milliband commented on This Week, they aren't cutting because they have to, but because they want to.

The LibDems, however are altogether different - you're selling out your principles - and the services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society - for a referendum on a voting system that will benefit your party (which you'll lose anyway).

People twig that, which is why your support is collapsing in the polls. You are the weak link in the Coalition chain which is why people voting in elections with progressive principles should actively not vote LibDem - maybe then LibDem MP's holed up comfortably in the Commons will begin to realise the damage they are doing to the country, and bring this disastrous ConDem coalition to an end.

Jonathan Wallace said...

Nick, I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree. Your interpretation of levels of party support is interesting but does not quite stand up to full investigation on your own patch. After all, earlier this month you came close to losing a by-election in Darlington to the Lib Dems.