I had my attention drawn to this weeks Victoria Coren article in the Observer http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/victoria-coren-nick-clegg-greer-jacobson.. Pretty much what you would expect, pretty much what I would expect until the line 'This isn't meant to be an attack on the Lib Dems; all the parties are the same. They're interchangeable'. This really shows how far the Liberals have come and how low they've sunk. No longer ridiculed by the nod to their unelectability, they're grouped in with all the other parties in the laziest put down of all.
In the good old days I used to rail against this comment. Well done the chattering classes, dismissing heartfelt passion and energy as the corrupted morals of each and every politician. Moving slightly to catch more sun, the loungers fall back on one of the staples - all politicans are in it for themselves, a truth so self evident that it serves as a clincher for any dispute.
I refute it but I find it harder to dismiss it completely out of hand these days. The number of politicians who have stood the test of time and more or less stuck to a principle or two seem an exotic rarity. The Liberals promised to be a sanctuary for them in a hostile world but since the dawn of the coalition I have to say I might just have been a bit too wide-eyed and innocent. In order to make power work it would seem they have to let principle go and in doing so, challenge the very nature of what a party stands for. If the bottom line of the coalition is that Nick Clegg defends his spending cuts by talking up the brilliance of allowing more two year olds to be taught by the state (2 year olds for pities sake) in total work families, for example, I begin to see that power does have the ability to corrupt principles enough to make it pointless following a team. Perhaps its just the Government and the Opposition?
I'm no longer sure I like the idea of coalition politics in any form but I'm fully aware the poisoned economy has made being in charge a slightly iffy proposition. The trouble is, if in adversity you feel unable to speak up loudly for the things you disagree with (as the Tories will do over voting reform) then what exactly is the Liberal Democrats place in the world?