LibLink: Mark Pack – We are now facing sobering reality of sharing power

by Stephen Tall on August 23, 2010

For a brief few weeks during the election campaign, the Indy became quite a readable newspaper, offering some balanced coverage which was at least some relief from the right-wing papers’ slavish Cameron obeisance. The paper didn’t back the Lib Dems, but it did give the party a fair hearing. Well, normal service is now resumed, with the Indy today devoting its front page to some idle, cliched speculation (“growing pressure”, “jittery atmosphere”, “braced for a backlash”).

Compare and contrast these two assessments of Nick Clegg’s demeanour, by the way.

  • In the Indy: ‘One MP said last night: “Nick just does not look like he’s enjoying the job.”‘
  • And Jackie Ashley in today’s Guardian: ‘Clegg ought to look ashen-faced, shaky, uncertain and deeply worried. Instead, he seems ebullient, perky and as optimistic as ever. So why would that be? He has been using a magic facial elixir, rubbed on each morning after he shaves. It’s called Power. It’s the energising effect of being able to do things, make real choices and directly affect the country you live in.’

The paper does make room for some more informed coverage, though, courtesy my Voice Co-Editor, Mark Pack, who notes the double-edged nature of the party finding itself in power:

On the up side, it is no longer a matter of the Liberal Democrats making 101 proposals in Parliament and hoping that, one day, one of the other parties would take one up and claim it as their own. On the down side, as we did not win the election ourselves, we are in a government with many members from another party and many of whose policies are not our own.

Characterising the mood in the party as ‘pensive’, Mark concludes with some sage advice from a former North Cornwall Liberal party MP:

In the Seventies, the then Liberal MP John Pardoe wrote: “Without political power, Liberal principles and policies will remain in the wings… [but] we must never clutch the cloak of establishment too close around us.” There is much wisdom in those words. In the meantime, plenty of those principles are finally being implemented by the Government.

You can read Mark’s article in full here.