Time for families of Lib Dem MPs to stand up for what they used to believe in
Posted on 7 November 2010 | 7:11pm
I would love to be a fly on the wall of kitchens and living rooms at weekends in the homes of Lib Dem MPs now helping the Tories do things they always wanted to but never dared to try.
Politicians by and large come from political families. So as well as the MP having played a part in getting them elected, so have wives, husbands, partners, mums, dads, kids, friends and neighbours. And I bet they aren’t half getting some grief when they go back to their constituencies and prepare to defend the indefensible.
Indeed, in some ways the wives, husbands etc get it worse than the MP. There he is, wandering around Westminster, rubbing shoulders with giants ahem like Nick Clegg and Michael Gove, being nodded at by men in tights who have remembered who he is, voting and speaking and going to meetings and generally just loving the whole thing of being a Lib Dem MP … and back home the missus is having to take the kids to school and meet parents at the schoolgates who are either subtly turning their backs or saying ‘excuse me, but why is your old man going back on the things he said he would do if I voted for him like you persuaded me to?’
Even when you’re doing things you believe in, you can end up having a lot of grief in a political household … tell me about it. But I reckon there will be some right old shindigs going on chez Lib Dems of a weekend, and some really good Monday morning barneys as MPs prepare to head back to Westminster.
Just take the thing dominating the news today, the idea of compulsory community work for the unemployed. Is there a single Lib Dem, prior to the May 6 election, who would have said it was anything other than a cruel and stupid idea of appeal only to hard right-wingers?
Yet there was Danny Alexander today, out defending the idea, saying it was all about giving the unemployed a taste of what work was like. What utter bilge, and whatever came out of his mouth, there was nothing in his heart that agreed with it.
Far from getting people into the habit of work, it will be used to minimise the political imperative to help revive the jobs market and fill it with real work.
Coming to a TV near you soon … a Lib Dem defending the idea that we include the numbers of people on unpaid work among the officially employed, because they are active.
If the Lib Dem MPs won’t start to stand up for what they believe in, maybe their families will.