Thursday, May 12, 2011

Muscular Liberal Democrats?

They are threatening the NHS reforms and last night they teamed up with Labour and cross bench peers to reject the central plank of the Government's police reform bill in the Lords. The Liberal Democrats have interpreted their poor results in last Thursday's elections as a message from the voters to distance themselves from the Tories and return to opposing policy rather than providing leadership.

Nick Clegg says his party needs to be more muscular in the coalition. If their opposition to the police reforms in the Lords is a taste of things to come we could be seeing the reforming zeal of this government coming to a disappointing end.

That would be a real shame and a real missed opportunity for Nick Clegg's party to show leadership and prove they're more than just a third party of opposition that exists primarily as a repository for the protest votes of disenchanted supporters of the other two mainstream parties.

My view is that the Lib Dems have the potential to replace an increasingly left leaning Labour party and be a genuine alternative to the Tories. But they have to demonstrate courage, fortitude and vision to earn that position. I also suspect there are many on the front bench who are rather more comfortable sniping at governments than they are running them.

Clegg may want to bulk up and be more "muscular" with his coalition colleagues but he should remember that steroids can help increase muscles size at the expense of shrivelling up other parts of the body.

If the Lib Dems flex their steroid boosted muscles and gut the reforming agenda the government has embarked on, they will show they have muscle but no balls.

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