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January 28, 2006

LibDem meltdown?

It is always edifying when politicians start to show their true colours, but the LibDem's seem to have taken this to a new level of vituperation. The daily press seems to have done a bit more than the usual muckraking as well, but perhaps it also explains why the Liberal Party, now morphed into the Liberal Democratic Party, has not been able to get itself elected as the party of government since 1918. Their previous record speaks clearly for itself, this is, after all, the party that invented the Civil Service, that invented Income Tax and which has, since they were last in power, done nothing to encourage voters to believe that they would be any better now than they were then.

In fact, if one looks at where they do have some power and influence, at local government level, they are very often the worst of all choices for local taxation, local management and local democracy. One prime example is the Council of a city near me. Their "Traffic and Planning" Committee has recently decided, without any consultation, to "phase out" residents parking permits for resident's at city centre blocks of flats. At a stroke they have rendered all these flats (apartments for my US readers) unsaleable. Who wants to buy a flat where there is nowhere to park your car? Even better, they have decreed that no new developments in the town centre will be permitted to include provision for parking private cars! Instant unsaleablility!

Add to this the fact that these are the same party members who have saddled this city with a huge debt, because they decided to sell off assets and borrow heavily on speculation to pay for massively expensive and totally unworkable pet projects. The now defunct "Noddy" Train which was supposed to ferry you from your car parking (miles from any shop!) to the shopping precincts, will not be forgotten by those still paying for it! In fact, probably the only thing which keeps these idiots in the council is the fact that there is a large student population from the local university who vote for them in preference to the alternatives primarily because the LibDems want to raise taxes to pay for a free tuition programme for students.

So far, the only candidate in the leadership "contest" who does not seem to have some "skeleton" in his closet is Sir Menzies Campbell, but I am sure the Sun or the Daily Mirror will find something sooner or later. Sadly, the only winners in all of this will be Labour and the usual backroom grubbers who make a living destroying reputations and characters.

Perhaps the LibDems real problem is that politicians in general have become so isolated from the realities of everyday life that they fail to see that the public opinion of them is so low that nothing surprises us anymore. The more they deny wrongdoing, peccadilloes or filandering, the more we believe they are up to something. I have no doubt that they will survive this unedifying swathe of dirty linen currently being hung out in public. It may be of some interest to those who revel in the discomfort of others, but is it really telling us anything we did not already know, or even need to know? I rather suspect not.

At least, if the LibDems carry on with their apparent desire to commit collective hari kari, we can perhaps expect to see the next elections being conducted without their usual pact with Labour and a more balanced view from the electorate - those who bother to vote anyway.

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 28, 2006 08:03 AM

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