The Strange Afterlife of Liberal England

What does he know that we don’t? Throughout this election campaign, even in both the bruising television events that he shared with other party leaders, Lib Dem chief and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has seemed as buoyant and lively as he was during the “Cleggmania” of five years ago. If, as the polls suggest, his political career is doomed (and the only thing on which the pundits are agreed in this election is that the Lib Dems will be … Read more

Dropped Lords reforms, no boundary changes and government turns inward?

There was a little spat last week, in the midst of Britain’s gold rush at the Olympics, the two men at the heart of government abandoned their attempt to reform the House of Lords (a Tory redline). In revenge, the LibDems cut their commitment to cut the number of seats in the Commons The Economist thinks it was a mistake both may come to rue: …the coalition is now far weaker. By trying to defuse rebellions in their own parties, … Read more

Lib Dems firmly locked into an executive they have no control of…

I see Mike Smithson’s taking advantage of the Tories’ two per cent poll lead over Labour to call into question the future of Ed Milliband. However, that question has always been there. He’s simply not rated as a political operator, even by own his party’s footsoldiers at Westminster. If anything the mystery has been his substantive lead over the government. Even now, it’s not that he’s dropped points, more that Cameron’s disaffected Eurosceptics are coming back to after his ‘veto’ … Read more

Coalition Government: Experts in pseudo-consultation and historic U-turns

There are two types of Government consultation. There is the kind of consultation that provides people with a background on a specific issue, enables people to respond to Option A, B, C, etc, so that the general public respond accordingly with A, B, or C or with perhaps some written submission, and then the Government responds accordingly. The other sort of consultation is the one in which a general briefing is provided by Department X within a narrow perspective, which … Read more

Politicians are not the only guilty ones

Westminster has shut down for Christmas. Some things are still sacred. The Con Dem coalition is fortunate not to be facing a full-blown crisis this morning.  But we can still pose the questions. Is there a legitimate distinction between public and private comment or is the difference always hypocrisy? The question lies at the heart of the WikiLeaks controversy and now in the spate of Lib Dem indiscretions. For political journalists the distinction is part of their stock in trade. … Read more

False Economy: a change-up for the left

The new False Economy website (building on the success of The Other Taxpayers’ Alliance and the MyDavidCameron sites) marks something of a change-up for the left, not least because it it something of a tribute to the strategic successes of the right over recent years. Watching the student protests throughout the UK and Northern Ireland, alongside the GPO rally in Dublin last Saturday, it’s hard to see what the political utility of street-protest really is. We may have an answer … Read more

After the election: Lib Dems have ‘influence’ rather than ‘power’…

Being a Lib Dem with government ministers (and everything) after all those years (nay, generations) in opposition, must be something akin to the feelings you have the very first time you ‘make love’. It’s something you’ve dreamed of for years, and you are undoubtedly happy it has finally happened. But… it wasn’t quite what you expected.  Theresa May is certainly no liberal’s dream of a Home Secretary. But… at the heel of the hunt they may simply be relieved that … Read more

Britain’s Wizard of Oz election…

It struck me the other day that, in Britain at least, we’re witnessing something of a Wizard of Oz election… Now please forgive the crude charaterisations here, it’s certainly not intended to wound or make light of profoundly serious matters, but it seems to me that the three party leaders roughly approximate to the characters of scarecrow, the tinman and the cowardly lion… So for starters, you have Gordon Brown as the lion wishing he had the nerve… Then Nick … Read more

Election 2010: Things I believed in yesterday…

I picked this up this morning, it’s a Tory leaflet warning people of the big danger of a hung Parliament… 24 hours ago it was a decent pitch. Today, I’m not sure anyone believes Gordon can be PM any more… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty