Unconvincing LibDem “Good Cop/Bad Cop” Routine

The Evening Standard left me a voicemail requesting my views on the LibDem divide between Clegg and Cable and followed it up with a rather nice email, so I decided to put finger to keyboard and give them the 150-200 words they asked for. Not that it’ll be used. Again…

… But they obviously read it. They asked for additional thoughts (below in the 2nd & 3rd last paragraphs)

One of the many downsides to fixed parliamentary terms is the hugely lengthened electioneering process. Over the last few days we have seen the LibDems kick off their extended campaign.

And a curious one it is, too. Nick Clegg is vigorously defending the party’s record of working within the Tories economic plans while Vince Cable is taking a broadly opposing view calling for more considered, sustainable approaches on just about every policy he can think of.

Between them they seem to be deliberately playing an unconvincing political good-cop, bad-cop routine designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. This is a dangerous strategy for the LibDems for two reasons.

Firstly, it spreads them so thinly that they become invisible, being indistinguishable from centrist Tory and Labour policies. Secondly, it reminds voters that despite their protestations of taking the moral high ground, they are little more than political opportunists, whoring themselves out to whoever will give them some small scrap of power.

Because full-blown LibDem coalition participation has happened once in several centuries of Parliamentary democracy, it would be a huge mistake for them to assume this is now the default position.

As their calamitous poll figures show, their lapsed Labour voters who wanted to be rid of Gordon Brown have now returned to Labour leaving the LibDems as the fringe party they have always been.

By simultaneously associating themselves with both Tory and Labour positions, they are in danger of disappearing down a crack of their own making.

Surprise, surprise, it got printed! Lead letter, its own headline and a box-out. Fame at last…

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About Paul Harper
These posts represent the collected thought of Paul Harper. Usually rants, occasionally lucid, always easily ignored. Read, don't read, your call!

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