Why Liberal Democrats have passed the point of no return….
Yesterday was a perfect example of why those Liberal Democrats who think there is a way back for their Party are gravely mistaken. In what amounts to an act of charity, the government decided to give Nick Clegg a ‘plum job’ – launching a drive on social mobility; a subject likely to press all the right buttons for those Liberal Democrat voters queasy at sharing government with the Conservatives. However, within a matter of hours it was all going horribly wrong.
Up popped one of Clegg’s ex-interns, who was unpaid of course. This would have been embarrassing enough but by all accounts it seems this chap is actually much more articulate than the Deputy Prime Minister himself. Further was to follow as Clegg was forced to u-turn on ending unpaid Liberal Democrat internships by his own Party headquarters. Can it get worse? The answer is yes. Today, The Spectator has unearthed comments made by Clegg claiming credit for NHS Reforms he is now trying to tell us he is leading the fight against.
The media narrative is against them because in the public mind, the collective perception is that Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are either a) a joke and object of mockery or b) treacherous opportunists who are totally untrustworthy. I am genuinely not sure which is worse but the point is that neither is good and both are politically toxic. They are hated by the true-blue Conservatives because they are seen as a wishy-washy burden; they are obviously hated by the opposition, their ex-voters and the media.This is already so deeply ingrained in both the media narrative and the public psyche that short of a move which is seen as a wholesale change, and even here this would probably have to go as far as a organisational split, would offer any hope of rehabilitation.
In politics, a point exists from which there is no return and Clegg and the Liberal Democrats as they are passed that point a long time ago. Even if all their wildest dreams come true; the economy recovers and milk and honey flows through the streets, it won’t matter a jot because they have sunk so far in the public estimation. If that were to happen, its the Conservatives that would be credited not Clegg and his motley crew. Whatever happens they are heading into the electoral abyss; they have passed the point of no return and yesterday proves that.