Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Anyone for ping-pong?

Warren Bradley, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool Council was on the television criticising the coalition government. I was waiting for the punchline saying how well Liberal Democrats were doing at any level but there wasn't one. As I understand it the coalition is allowing Liberal Democrat policies to be enacted. Alright there are some Tory policies too but that is what coalition is all about.

The choice is clear. Liberal Democrats act in the coalition and have influence or they stay in opposition and come up with the policies that may affect Government decisions but only if that is what the Government wants. I thought I knew which choice I preferred. What was Warren's motivation to come up with this criticism? He doesn't like defending Tory policies, that much is clear. If we are to exert influence in government, we have to take our position as coalition partners seriously, even if that sometimes means compromises.

Not everyone will agree with me on the definition of democracy but I really don’t think it is about implementing one party’s policies then alternating them with another party’s. Locally in Lancaster there is a coalition too, which makes it difficult to criticise local decisions, but isn't this what democracy is about? I think so. Adversarial politics may be appropriate sometimes, but if we are to represent more than just a minority then we have to work together, sometimes setting aside our differences in the interest of harmony and progress. We have to implement policies that are negotiated between coalition partners. What is the alternative? Well we can go back to adversarial ping-pong and change policies with every election.

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1 comment:

  1. Most people in the NW have given Bradley's comments the respect they deserve - they ignored them