The Thick of It


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lib Dem bashing

Medhi Hasan suggests that the coalition has exposed "Labour's worst tribalist tendencies". To some extent this is true. The party has enjoyed baiting the Lib Dems as a diversion from its own problems: losing power. I admit that I've enjoyed taking part, though that emanates more from having campaigned directly against the Lib Dems in Islington for many years. Locally they have always been my foe.

Hasan argues that Lib Dem baiting is a problem for Labour because it ignores the common ground between the two parties. He highlights rebels in the Lib Dem ranks, such as Charles Kennedy and Lord Oakeshott. Labour should extend an olive branch to disaffected Lib Dems, because the social democratic arm of that party historically derives from Labour and there is some common ground.  That isn't enough for me. Just as the Lib Dems held the Labour Party accountable for the actions of the leadership when in power, I feel we must do the same. We're involved in a competitive electoral fight. The Lib Dems know where we are.

If the "natural home for Lib Dems is on the left" they need to start proving that by their actions in government, at their conferences and if that doesn't work they should find themselves a new home while they still have the chance.


Graham said...

I agree. It's fair enough to think about possible future coalitions, but ultimately, the Lib Dems will like us if we win.

They have to answer to their voters, for tehir actions. Local Labour Parties must help that happen.

However, there is one thing that is sometimes a little more troubling about some thinking within the Labour Party, which is the tendency to fall into Cameron's human shield trap, and focus fire on the Lib Dems because they ought to know better.

The Tories are the real enemy and the Lib Dems should be treated as the irrelevance they have become.

Tim McLoughlin said...

You are absolutely right. The Lib Dems are not the enemy, the Tories are. This often frustrated me when we were in government when it felt to me that many in the Labour Party thought Tony Blair was the enemy. Hopefully the nastiness of the current Tory government will re-focus everyone onto the real objective.