It was an amazing coincidence that Lady Warsi’s interview on BBC2’s Newsnight spoke so lamentably about the state of the coalition the evening before YouGov put the Tories 11 points behind Labour. The Conservative Party chairman without hesitation accused us of being immature and failing to accept collective responsibility within the coalition.
Patrick Wintour’s article in yesterday’s Guardian highlights the despicable manner in which Lady Warsi, as a cabinet member showed no loyalty to her coalition partners by putting the boot in as soon as the going got tough and the Tories started struggling in the opinion polls.
The whole episode could easily have been interpreted as the Tories looking for a scapegoat in advance of the poll results becoming public to calm the rabid right wing in their party. This is not good politics when in the cold light of day you realise that we still have 3 years remaining of a coalition government before the next General Elections in 2015.
Apart from attacking Tim Farron, Warsi even went on to criticise Vince Cable, for expressing unease about the reduction in tax relief for charitable donations. “I actually think if you agree something, you are collectively bound to that agreement and therefore you stand by it once that decision has been made,” she said.
So she blames Tim Farron and Vince Cable. Who else might actually be responsible for the Tories’ woes?
Well, Tory MP Douglas Carswell claimed on BBC radio on Monday 16 April that it was all down to Treasury officials who had been waiting to put through their pet schemes for closing tax loopholes. Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, also claimed the civil servants were to blame.
It doesn’t stop there. Conservative right-wingers are accusing David Cameron of accepting the European Court of Human Rights judgements on Abu Qatada because he doesn’t want to upset Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.
We are therefore being blamed for wanting to follow the rule of law and meet our international obligations in safeguarding human rights.
The Qatada case of course goes right to the heart of Tory dissatisfaction with the Liberal Democrats – the natural Tory instinct would be to give Strasbourg the two fingered salute. Strasbourg, of course, previously ruled that Qatada could not be forcibly sent to Jordan because of concerns that their courts will rely on evidence gathered from torture.
What has now made the matter worse is that MPs learned last week that the Sarkozy government had deported two terrorist suspects in defiance of the ECHR. ‘Why can’t we do the same’ they say? ‘It’s all the Liberal Democrats’ fault!’
The Home Secretary, Theresa May will therefore not receive general applause from the Tory right wing with the announcement of fresh attempts to send Abu Qatada back to Jordon. In fact, May can probably expect a bouquet of barbed wire from her own side.
Warsi blames the Lib Dems of being immature in government. I place the boot squarely on the other foot and say that it is she who shows immaturity and insecurity when the going gets tough for the Tories. She has irresponsibly sown the seeds of distrust through attacking in a public forum her coalition partners and colleagues with whom she has been entrusted to co-operate with for the remainder of this coalition government.
* Issan Ghazni is Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats and former National Diversity Adviser for the Liberal Democrats. Issan blogs here