The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Monday, January 09, 2006
Let's hope he is wrong
by Peter

There is an unusually thoughtful analysis of the threats and opportunities posed by the current situation in the Times this morning. Peter Riddell writes that

The myth of betrayal is being fostered...{as}...the thrust of a populist platform appealing to ordinary members against unrepresentative and treacherous MPs.

He goes on to say

The “treachery” case is nonsense. Most of the MPs who turned against Mr Kennedy last week had not only previously been among his closest supporters but had covered up, and suffered the consequences of, his drinking. The critics felt, reasonably, that their patience had been pushed too far and that Mr Kennedy was failing to offer a firm lead.

His conclusion is a little grim. He suggests that Liberal Democrats run the risk of being embroiled in a civil war, with demagogues seeking to set the Parliamentary party against the membership. I hope he is wrong about this.
posted by Apollo Project @ 11:23 am  
  • At 09 January, 2006 21:26, Blogger Snafu said…

    Should we be grateful that Charles Kennedy didn't become Prime Minister in 2005?

    It seems to be political equivalent of a Coup d'Etat and parallels with Mrs. T are noticeable.

  • At 10 January, 2006 09:08, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…


    Richard Allen has drawn attention to the parallels with the Thatcher coup on his blog (see post below).

    I have never criticised the Tories for getting rid of her, as she seemed off her rocker. For that matter I have always thought their distate for Heseltine - resulting from the coup - was a mistake. He did them a favour.

  • At 10 January, 2006 13:55, Blogger Tristan said…

    I don't think there'll be a civil war.
    There should have been more communication with the party members from the parliamentary party but I can't see the MPs being set against the membership, I give them more credit than that, and if they are Liberals they should have a gut reaction against it :)

    I think some of this is also trying to play up this tired old left/right thing...

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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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