Monday, March 07, 2005

Welcome to the major leagues, Charlie

Charles Kennedy was interviewed on the Politics Show on BBC1 yesterday, down the line from the Spring conference in Harrogate. He was getting rather riled by the line of questioning taken by Jeremy Vine, who was pushing the Liberal Democrat leader over some of the less well-known party policies:
  • letting 16 year olds become porn stars
  • taxing your dog
  • an uncosted promise to boost maternity pay by 30%
  • giving the vote to serving prisoners
These have been passed by the Liberal Democrat conference and as this is the 'sovereign' decision-making body of the party, become party policy. Charlie insisted that the party should be judged solely on the manifesto. Sorry, that's not how it works.

It isn't enough anymore to simply give the press good quotes about how poor the current government is, jump aboard bandwagons or to oppose for the sake of opposition. There comes a point, when you have to expect greater scrutiny of the policies that you offer as an alternative. To be fair, it is a kind of compliment to the national leadership for the opposition that they have presented, but it doesn't do to look aggrieved when you aren't allowed to dodge tough questions.

Still, I'm sure the delegates were roused to action by the inspiring exhortation to go back to their constituencies and prepare for opposition.

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