Liberal Democrats - The New Nasty Party?
I wake up today feeling guilty that only months ago I voted Liberal Democrat. In my defence, the reason was that I live in a seat that was at the time held by the Liberal Democrats who faced a strong and ultimately successful challenge by the Conservatives. Had I voted on the basis of conviction, I would have voted for the excellent local Green Party candidate.
I know that I shall never make the same mistake again. I think the treatment of Charles Kennedy reeks to high heaven. The man who obviously like so many people struggles with a drink problem, is now the subject of one of the most venomously personal campagns of denigration that I can remember. Pygmies who owe their seats to him, are now turning on him with all the moral fibre of present day Brutus figures. Don't for one moment think that this is all about drink. Kennedy's alcohol problem has become an excuse for the pygmies and former employees of enlightened concerns such as Shell to tirn on a fundamentally decent man and to exile him to the Outer Hebridees of political life. That the agenda is wider than a drink problem is admitted by former MP Richard Allan who admits that the real issue is a political malaise rather than alcohol. On other words, the man's health problems are being used as the grounds of attack rather than the real issues which relate to how the Liberal Democrats position themselves for the next few years. What brave men to fight by using the cover of the drink problem of the man who has given them their greatest sucess since the days of Herbert Asquith who himself was known for excessive drinking.
I cannot see how Kennedy can survive the Machiavellian onslaught that confronts him. I am sure that we will in future see a Liberal Democrat Party as careerist and unprincipled as its two main rivals. The level of democratic choice will deteriorate even further.
But perhaps the ultimate conclusion from this episode is that the Liberal Democrats have in recent days taken upon themselves the label that Theresa May once suggested the Conservatives had landed themselves with;
THE NASTY PARTY.
And I suspect that it will take a party that has traded on its decency, even longer than it is taking the Conservatives to get rid of that unappealing label.