Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hadrian's Fence

"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 Soviet National Party's minimum alcohol pricing plans being ignominiously destroyed in contemptuous style.

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.


Curmudgeon said...

Didn't some Scottish LibDem get all in a tizz about BrewDog's Tokyo* and end up being put right by a Green MSP?

In other news, BrewDog have now produced the world's strongest beer - Tactical Nuclear Penguin.

Just await the harrumphing - although it is still weaker than standard Scotch.

Captcha="consp" ;-)

Curmudgeon said...

Indeed, see this post of yours.

Captain Ranty said...

Credit where it's due though Dick.

In a stunning move the LibDims voted against something. Wonders never cease.

Usually their Hansard records say something like.."Justin McNospine, LibDims, voted weakly for and against XXX, deciding in the end that they needed a lie down".


wv-visha. I visha was somewhere else...

Tarquin said...

I like a party that welcomes alternative opinions - I don't agree with Liam Donutson and Don Foster but at least, unlike Labour, they consider the argument - it's why they'll always be a more honest bunch than the other two, and will never really do 'conviction' politics, and also why they'll never win

Dick Puddlecote said...

Tarquin: The problem is that if they did do 'conviction politics' and followed the views of the party membership I have met, they would likely gain quite a support.

But they don't, so they won't. ;-)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Curmudgeon: Boy, have you got a stunning memory!

Also, that settles it. I've downloaded the Brewdog shares doc, I want in. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've met a few LD's who were good people and who did have convictions. One of them is my wife and I once leafleted for her doomed attempt to become a LD councillor. My beloved has shifted her stance towards a libertarian position.

Sadly the party as a whole has drifted towards a Democratic Socialism - what I like to think of as a drab sort of fascism without the Hugo Boss uniforms.

To be honest they're kinda boring and irrelevant.

banned said...

Either the mainstream politicians are running scared of pissing us off yet more, because even they must be aware of the violent undercurrent of hatred for the smoking ban and not just from smokers, or they took notice of the Poll on Alcohol Concern Scotlands own website in which 10,000 people voted 94% against price rigging.

Carl Minns said...

Still can't believe you missed breakfast. Maybe this is what the health nutters mean by passive drinking! :-) I recommend more drinking practice

Curmudgeon said...

Curmudgeon: Boy, have you got a stunning memory!

I store these things up to use as ammunition in the future >;-)

This article by Simon Jenkins is one of the best things I've read about the LibDems:

I want a gadfly party, not this rickety Ikea version


Anonymous said...

I don't think many people have twigged that a minimum price of 50p per unit equates to a minimum price for a bottle of 12.5%ABV wine of £4.69. The supporters of this proposal talk only of cider, cheap sprits and binge drinking and claim that "moderate" drinkers would not be affected. At my local Lidl, perfectly drinkable wine is available for £3 a bottle. A moderate drinker of two and a half botles a week would see his weekly spend increase by £4.23. To many people this is not negligible.

Andy said...

Don Foster used to be my MP. once i demolished his passive smoking argument for support of the illiberal smoking ban, he hid behind reducing smoking prevalance.When the smoker numbers rose he decided to revert back to protecting workers from deadly tobacco smoke. I encountered the same sequence of events with Norman Lamb- health spokesman. They dont know their arse from their elbow,their liberal values straight out of Animal Farm.