Sunday, 26 December 2010

Liberal Talk

After an intense period of stuffing turkeys - them into my mouth rather than bread and herbs into them, for I am no chef - I have returned to the blogosphere. Christmas has filled me with festive cheer and so, no ranting yesterday, and no raving today, merely an observation.

Is it not odd that politicians (and others) complain so much when caught saying things off camera that are embarrassing to them when made public? Now there is a time and a place for secrecy, and certainly in Government and especially in coalition, there will be many views that are somewhat disparate from the party line. This is the essence of democracy. However, bugging the cabinet room, or Lib Dem HQ is very different from reporting what an MP openly says to his constituents.

The latest and most famous person to be 'caught out' is, of course, granfatherly Vince Cable. Now I think I should rather, as a member of the electorate, hear what Vince really thinks rather than what he is willing to release as a canned statement. Surely that is more likely to represent the man and his politics rather than those of the machine, or what under the last maladministration I believe we would term 'spin'. So do I believe that he really means what he says when he knows he's being recorded and assume he is lying to his constituents at surgeries to shore up his Lib Dem credentials? Or do I assume what he says privately to his constituents is true Vince, and his public utterings to be statements approved by the People's Commissariat for Policy but totally detached from the feelings of Mr Cable? Well, you can pick the one you prefer, but that isn't really the point.

My point is, if there is one, secreted latent in the centre of the piece rather than uttered proudly in the first line is as embarrassing as it is for politicians to be exposed like this, this is hardly deplorable investigative reporting. If you are a politician and you say something 'ex camera' regardless of whether it is 'on camera' expect to have to defend it. At the end of the day, these people only have themselves to blame. If they decide to take a ministerial position, they will likely have to publicly support from time to time a position they do not favour. If they don't like it, they have the option of the backbenches where they can stand by their beliefs rather than Government policies except when whipped. Differing opinions are not an issue provided the Government are mature and composed enough to not let them overtake the Governmental issues they concern. The last one was not - let us hope for all our sakes this one can nip this liberal talk in the bud. Otherwise old Vince will end up with far more time for his Werther's Originals...

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