"Arguments are an intellectual process. Contradiction is just an automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says." Monty Python
Regular readers will recall that I've an affinity with rank and file Lib Dems, many of whose attitude I found rather refreshing in Bournemouth, though if I see genial characters like Carl Minns, Charlotte Gore, Julian Harris etc. again, I will be claiming a lost breakfast, with mild menaces.
No, it's not yer average Lib Dem who makes me shiver at the thought of giving them my X, but the flip-flopping, say-anything-for-a-vote, fence-sitters in their parliamentary party**.
My own MP is as stiff as one of late Grandad Puddlecote's liberally starched Sunday best collars, which is not surprising considering the size of the splinters that must be crammed up his career politician sphincter. Replies to my correspondence tend to dance from one side of an issue to the other, sometimes in the same paragraph, so much so that I've taken to being extremely vague as to my personal stance just for the amusement of seeing the angst-ridden prose as he attempts to cover all the options. You can almost sniff the aroma of perspiration on the page, created by the pitiful fear of writing a vote-losing sentence.
Further confirmation of the Lib Dems' odd version of 'conviction' politics came today with the Scottish
Great news, of course, which was brought about partly due to outright rejection by the Scottish Lib Dems.
Minimum pricing killed off in first stage of Alex Salmond 'double blow'
The Tories and Liberal Democrats, who also oppose the measure, warned the majority of responsible drinkers would be punished and questioned its legality under EU law.
Indeed, Lib Dem Robert Brown was adamant that, as a way of tackling alcohol abuse, it was a non-starter.
He said the proposal was "almost certainly illegal" and would only have a marginal effect on problem drinkers ...
All of which suggests that the fence, on which the party are uncomfortably sitting with regard to minimum pricing, is situated somewhere around the England/Thistlemunchland border. A Hadrian's fence separating the condemnatory tone of the Scottish party with the gleeful nodding of the English.
Because the Lib Dems here thought it was a cracking idea when hideous, lardy, illiberal shitstick, Liam Donutson, proposed the same measure to Westminster in March.
The Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman Don Foster backed Sir Liam’s call. “The Liberal Democrats have long argued that the ridiculously cheap below-cost price of alcohol in some of our supermarkets and off-licences is a key contributor to the problem of binge drinking,” he said. “There is clear research showing that putting an end to pocket money-priced alcohol will influence drinking behaviour. While more work needs to be done on the details, we welcome Sir Liam’s intervention and hope that the Government will act.”
Now, it's probably asking too much to expect brave, honest politics from our elected representatives anymore, but something approaching a consistent policy would be nice.
Either minimum pricing is illegal and useless, or it's not. Elected Lib Dems seem to believe that it can be either, dependant on whichever parliament it is addressing at any particular time.
Perhaps Lib Dem MPs would be better employed selling five-minute arguments at £1 a pop.
** And the fact that the fuckers voted almost en bloc for the smoking ban, of course.