Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Never mind the quality, feel the width
Liberal Democrats are constantly reminded by their leaders of the concessions made by the Tories in coalition, most recently at conference. The Tory website Conservative Home also harps on about it. A more considerate assessment can be found in UCL's report "One Year On"
The problem is that the width of Liberal Democrat policy gains is not matched by the quality whereas the party's losses in policy terms are gaping holes. It's as if you bought trousers with a generous waistline but no material behind leaving a bare backside to be kicked. The voters might ignore the fine work on the lapels and collar if the pockets were empty with a big hole in the bottom.
As Nick Clegg noted at conference, "Probably the most important lesson I have learned is this: No matter how hard you work on the details of a policy, it's no good if the perception is wrong. ". The Clinton mantra "It's the economy stupid" is still true. No amount of blaming Labour for the mess, however justified, will save our bacon in 2015 if too many people are out of work.