‘It’s like Waco, Texas….’
This is how one Conservative backbencher described the weekends public flogging of the Liberal Democrats. It was contained within a gleeful text sent to and reported on Twitter by Paul Waugh. With friends like this, who needs enemies hey? Amazingly, this was too much even for Nick Clegg who turned on David Cameron, calling his use of the EU Veto a “bitter disappointment”. Despite Clegg’s wailing however, the Liberal Democrats have left themselves with a very weak hand.
Numerically and organisationally they are outnumbered and easily outgunned by the Conservative right which will only be emboldened to ask for more by Cameron’s actions. Furthermore, Clegg maybe disappointed but he should barely be surprised. Cameron made his name during the Conservative leadership contest with his pledge to pull them out of the European Peoples Party, the mainstream centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, and wander off into the wilderness to ally himself with the various unsavouries on the fringes of the European right. One wonders what Clegg therefore expected from Cameron on Europe – he is not the helpless prisoner of his right-wing Clegg deludes himself to believe he is.
Self-delusion has become a stock in trade for Liberal Democrats. They have adopted a psychologically defensive posture and started to very much see what they want to see in their Coalition partners. People routinely do this when their current reality is to horrific for their mind to bear, so it naturally seeks to soften the horror. However, in moments like those last week the reality bursts through and imposes itself on the person, or in this case party, in question.
Brought face-to-face with the reality of their own impotence the Liberal Democrats now look set to lapse back into sullen acceptance , that is if Danny Alexander’s comments this morning are anything to go by. The only other choice they have is to trigger a General Election and accept massive losses. So, they will continue to be imprisoned of the waking nightmare of a Coalition where they are the impotent whipping boys – regularly strung out for the amusement of Conservative back-benches. One might even feel sorry for them but the reality is that they did this to themselves, so they deserve none of our sympathy and certainly none of our support.