Recent developments point to yes, though I thought my opinions were mellowing as I grew older.
For the context, I once threw a pint in a certain someone‘s face for suggesting that they’d affiliate with the Liberal Democrat party in order to run for Mayor of St Albans. The protest represented something quite large for me at the time, considering I was skint and essentially a proto-alcoholic. It was a new fresh and full pint in an expensive gig venue.
I was a student, of the increasingly but ineffectually radicalised sort, all mouth and no trousers (well, not for most of the day anyway) so this was the full extent of my political engagement.
I think Chris still admires my vehemence, though he never lets me forget the cruelty of it.
Back to Cleggy.
Basically, I am slightly in favour of the Lib Dems in this current race purely as a force for creating the most ridiculous outcome possible. I like the fact that I don’t even have to consider the prospect of whether they could possibly ‘run the country’ as the electoral system is so fucked that they can come in first in terms of nationwide votes and still have half as many seats as each party in the Labservative (I still like portmanteaus) mainstream.
I’m not even going to bother deconstructing the ‘run the country’ line. Realistically, that’s the civil services job. Sure the politicians make the big decisions, and have plenty of scope to run the country into the ground (cf from the future, a Conservative victory in 2010), but it’s not about the ‘experience’. It’s about what they want to do when they get there.
I’m almost fond of the notion of a Cleggy led LabLib coalition (not just because it sounds like a euphemism for lady bits) because I can imagine there being a usefulness in keeping Brown (who knows how shit rolls, without having any idea how to move anything forward) in the background as a kind of stoic, stolid ballast to government. Not in charge, but keeping things from exploding. Despite all his failings he is actually fairly good at that kind of thing.
Anyway, the main reason I want to throw a pint in his face right now is because he’s said he might be willing to go into coalition with the Tories. This is pretty much unforgivable. Okay, so he says he’d do it if they supported electoral reform. And only if Labour had a third place majority. There’s even a logic to saying he’ll ‘let the public decide’ by just teaming up with whoever wins the highest percentage of voters.
And he’s changed his mind again already.
He’s losing momentum. Because he’s not really a force for anything different. He’s just branding himself that way.
Party politics is broken. Parties represent party members occasionally, and lobby groups all the fucking time.
Nobody represents constituents any more.
We need proper prop rep now.
And they all need pints in their faces.
Illustration by Lucy.
For the record, I (Alex) don’t represent the political views of anyone but myself, and I don’t support any particular party. Currently my only political stances are ‘fuck the mainstream’ and ‘where’s the left when you need it’. Coupled with some oddly misplaced optimism.
That is all.