There’s a comedic device used by political commentators and pundits that almost always generates a quick spasm of laughter on shows like Have I Got News For You. It is broken out almost every time a Liberal Democrat policy or initiative is mentioned, and usually involves someone declaring that there’s no point in paying attention to the Lib Dems as they’ll never get in. It’s lazy, tired and helps reinforce the positions of the two main parties
I remember watching a Newsnight report a while ago about the performances of the three party leaders at their party conferences. A pollster stood in front of a room full of average Britons, and asked them to rate, in real-time, the speeches of David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg. Clegg was the overwhelming winner, but not one person in the room could name him, due partly to this enforced ignorance of anything Lib Dem.
I’m not sure who’s going to get my vote next year, but it will probably be Clegg, if for no other reason than his party contains Vince Cable, the only man in politics who dared stand up and preach caution when the City was dooming an entire generation to cut-price public services and an Everest of debt. Labour is unelectable because it stood by while the bankers it courted wrecked the economy and the Tories reek of rarefied, public-school privilege.
The Lib Dems also seem to be the only party willing to talk honestly about the brutal fiscal reality. They have that luxury of course, because they’ll never get in…