20 June 2012 Leave a comment
What are the Lib Dems doing well at? From one day to another we may have a different answer to that question because of what people say and what we read and hear. It is useful to review what we are doing well as a party, beyond the ‘achievements’. The papers write a fair amount about the Lib Dems these days but not all of it is good but when we look at what the party has been praised for over the last year we can see that there are some things which come out as themes: We are providing good government, we are having a significant influence in government, there needs to be a liberal voice and our party is an effective one:
The Daily Telegraph acknowledge that mistakes have been made since 2010 but state that this has still been the best government for a generation, led by men and women for the most part of decency and goodwill. They praise Clegg and Cameron’s skill and admirable personal forbearance that the project has lasted as long as it has.
The Independent praise the Lib Dems for improving the Government stating that the last Labour government would have been improved by coalition with the Lib Dems: no Iraq; no imprisonment without trial; civil liberties upheld.
The Guardian report that the government-watchers at UCL’s Constitution Unit say the Lib Dems have been better at organising backbench committees to monitor policies
University and College Union say that the government should be applauded for appearing to listen to the experts in the case.
The Independent believe that the Liberal Democrats have punched above their weight in the Coalition.
The Daily Mail believe that the Lib Dems have provided parts of the Government agenda which have an ‘unmistakable Liberal Democrat feel to them’. They state that ‘the Lib Dems, though representing only one sixth of the Government in terms of MPs, get their way over a very much larger proportion of Government measures’. But more importantly they acknowledge that they exercise their power by what policies they keep out as well as by what they get in.
The Daily Telegraph state that the Lib Dems are better at trading in public with the Tories.
The Guardian believe the Lib Dems have put their distinctive stamp on several progressive announcements and that there are many areas that bear the mark of Lib Dem pressure inside the coalition.
The Independent state that ‘there is no argument’; the Liberal Democrats and their leader, Nick Clegg, have played a political blinder this past 18 months. They praise the fact that the Lib Dems have kept a British coalition government in being against all odds, with no sign of it collapsing in the near future. They praise the fact that they are not just sustaining a regime but have had a restraining influence on it.
The Guardian praise Lib Dem ministers for being more assertive in government.
The Daily Telegraph state that Lib Dem influence is on the rise within government due to a change in strategy.
The Guardian praise changes in the Lib Dem strategy stating that they are ‘finally conducting themselves as an independent party’ and succeeding.
The Independent praise the Lib Dems for insisting on a political agenda rooted in civil liberties, internationalism, human rights, political reform, responsible capitalism and fighting climate change and state that this is a powerful reminder of the Lib Dems’ uniqueness.
The Guardian praise the Lib Dem position on Europe saying they were right to fight their corner publicly.
The New Statesman praise the Lib Dems for being hawkish on the deficit, liberal on social policy and populist on bankers; thriftier than Labour but nicer than the Tories, the Lib Dems are squatting stubbornly, sometimes chaotically, in the middle of British politics.
The Independent state that the Liberal Democrats have either been the most maverick party in Britain or the most democratic.
The Guardian believe the Lib Dems have always been a more resilient party than people think and that they have proved extraordinarily disciplined and that this is one thing that people have consistently underestimated about the Lib Dems. They go on to praise Mr Clegg for becoming increasingly aggressive in an effort to reassert his differences with the Conservatives.
The Guardian praise the Liberal Democrats policy-making and democratic conference.
The Guardian state that the Lib Dems, both in government and more widely, are a more resilient and coherent party than their critics generally allow and that the Lib Dems exist for reasons that still make sense. They highlight that the Lib Dems stand for priorities that are distinctly different from those of their Conservative partners and that they are in the middle of proving that coalition governments can work. They praise this fact saying it is an underestimated achievement.
The Independent say the Lib Dems observed the hacking scandal from the comfort of the moral high ground and that the party went into conference in reasonably good shape.
The Guardian praise the fact that the Lib Dems were the only one of the three main parties that hasn’t spent the last two decades trying to curry favour with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. And praise them for being the only ones with the guts to try to halt its remorseless advance.
The Daily Telegraph state that the Lib Dems have remained largely loyal and united and believe that Clegg is using his new confidence to pull the Coalition towards the Left