.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do Liberal Democrats understand the art of survival?

Former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Jonathan Aitken tells this morning's Telegraph that he has doubts as to whether the Liberal Democrats are temperamentally suited to high office.

The man, who himself was forced to resign his cabinet post and went to prison for perjury, thinks that the Liberal Democrats have been out of office for so long that we have lost touch with the basic, unwritten rules of political survival.

His evidence lies in the level of churn amongst Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers: The party has five positions in the Cabinet, two of which have already had to be replaced amid accusations of previous wrongdoing. The Tories, who have three times as many ministers, have only lost one under a cloud, Dr Liam Fox:

“Mr Huhne is innocent until proved guilty, but I do look at his party and all the problems its people have had and wonder if its members have got the knack for politics and for power in their bones,” says Aitken, who stepped down as chief secretary to the Treasury in 1995 after it was alleged that he had violated ministerial rules and was later jailed for perjury.

“The problem is that, after being out of office for as long as their party has, they seem to have lost touch with the basic, unwritten rules of political survival.”

Speaking at a reception to launch his book, Kazakhstan: Surprises and Stereotypes After Twenty Years of Independence, Aitken, adds: “Labour members and, yes, the Tories have inner alarm bells that ring when their private and public affairs are liable to cause them trouble. The Lib Dems just don’t seem to have them. They still seem to think that they are private people.”

It is an interesting theory. Are Liberal Democrats more naive than their colleagues in other parties? Or is it just that they have had less luck, largely as a result of being under far more intense scrutiny by a media which is pursuing its own agenda of destabilising the coalition?
A media intent on destabilising the coalition? Surely not.
It's partly down to being a smaller party than Labour or Conservative, so there are less checks and balances in place.

Also the Lib Dem candidate selection processes usually aren't as thorough as Labour or the Conservatives and rely totally on the potential candidate being open and honest.
The ousting of Liam Fox looked like retribution for David Laws to me. No doubt LibDem Special Advisers are already working on another high-ranking Tory should Chris Huhne go down. Perhaps the production line for Theresa May's footwear will be found to rely on child labour.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?