Posted by: John | March 20, 2009

Vince and Ken show: what it means

I’ve been struck this week by a new theme going on in British politics. It seems that the public have finally dismissed new Labour as the party to win the next general election.

There now seems to be an air of `who else is out there?`

This seems to have been dramatised by two events this week:

1. The Economic debate at the House of Commons on Wednesday was a peculiar two-part affair. The first part was a highly predictable `who said, what and when` exchange between Yvette Cooper (Where was Darling?) and George Osborne. It only became lively when there was as Geoffrey Robinson Labour MP put it `an economic seminar` between Vince Cable and Ken Clarke/David Davis and a sole member of the SNP for Western Isles (by way of interventions). I suppose Geoffrey doesn’t like economic seminars – best to have ding dong battles so that a binary narrative can progress.

Notable was the way the Labour benches were all silent just watching/listening like people at a classical concert. The Tories were hanging on Vince’s every word like students wanting to know the answers from teacher.

The other event was one of the best Question Times for years. Again another Vince and Ken show – both human, engaging and respected. Tessa Jowell simply couldn’t answer basic questions about the most obvious decisions that have had to be made by the Government.

As Mr Quist has said on his blog Gordon will only say sorry when it is politically expedient to do so. I sense though the country realises this and has moved on. They are now casting around for alternative voices to lead us out of this mess.

I suspect the next part of this process is to simply find out exactly what sort of societal vision both us and the Tories want for our society.

Be aware this may be very difficult for some Liberal Democrats – what the public might actually want is a hung parliament whereby the Tories reform the public sector (cuts in pay, pension benefits and numbers) to make it more equitable with the private sector as well as saving money with us trying to protect it a bit more sensibly (slowly does it) yet also promoting democratic reform that the public feel is needed.

We must keep on saying that there can be no economic recovery without a recovery in our ailing democratic system. The public will be looking to us to promote excellence in both Government and arguments in changing our ailing Democratic system.

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