Friday, 12 August 2011


Dear Nick, sorry I missed you during the debate in Parliament yesterday. I waited for a long time and looked out for your distinctive input, supporting the police, identifying those responsible as criminals and calling for tough punishments but also decrying ludicrous calls for baton rounds and water cannon as unnecessary, unwanted by the police, useless for recent events and potentially inflammatory. I tapped my fingers while I waited for your dismissal of calls for the army to patrol our streets. I listened out for your dismissal of calls for a curfew as nonsense in 21st century peacetime Britain.

I hung around to hear your expression of reservations about new laws, something 'New' Labour used to do as a knee-jerk reaction to any problems and something that in the good old days Liberal Democrats used to ridicule as bad law making. I waited to hear you set out very clearly that the police have enough powers and they have the ability to do their job without the interference of politicians. I craned my ear to the radio to listen to your recognition that politicians have a strategic role in supporting, advising and criticising the police where necessary and setting out the policy framework in which they operate but NOT getting involved in day to day decision making, as the Tories claim to be doing.

Thinking about your current role, I thought you might not be able to do this so I listened out for a deputy, like the ever-prescient Vince, to make the point, or even the reliably left field Charlie Kennedy but sadly they must have been stuck with you wherever you were holed up.

I waited a long time, Nick. I'm still waiting but I can't wait forever. Give me a call and tell me where on earth you are or I might be forced to carry on without you.

By the way, you may not remember me but I was a LD candidate for Henley in 2010. I stood firm to the party line. I spent a lot of my own money on the campaign. I made promises on tuition fees which I subsequently had to apologise for breaking. I did a lot to support a fellow candidate in what turned out to be an unsuccessful campaign. Put simply, I did my bit and I fought for Liberal Democrat values. I still do. I know you did too and I applaud your efforts on behalf of us all but this is the time when the Lib Dems stand apart as the sole voice of reason as the two old parties veer further to the right.

Where were you?


  1. The coalition arrangement is a bad one if Britain's Liberal leader cannot make a distinctive input (or any input) in a recall of parliament debate. Even in the dismal 50's the party's leader managed to make himself heard in such high debates.

    Times like this, he should be sat with his party MP's and stand to make a speech, if not speech at the dispatch box.

  2. I agree John, although his role as Deputy PM probably commits him to sitting where he does. He was clearly uncomfortable and if not him, someone 'heavyweight' from our side should have laid into the Tories. Where were Simon Hughes and Tim Farron, for example?