Tim Farron is probably the Parliamentary Party’s best funny speech maker (though I’d pay good money to see him head-to-head in a laugh off with Alistair Carmichael), so it’s not a surprise that Tim’s speech to Liberal Democrat conference caught the headlines mostly for his humour and his stress-testing of political marriage analogies to destruction.
Yet there was a significant section about how Liberal Democrat ministers act and his own role:
There are 18 Liberal Democrats who don’t have the luxuries that I do.
They can’t just sound off if they don’t like government policy or trot through the no lobby on occasions – rare occasions – to demonstrate their disagreement.
They are our ministers.
And while I’m parading my conscience around the TV studios saying the right things, they are busy in their departments doing the right things.
On those very, very rare occasions when Michael Gove says or does something stupid or wrong, Sarah Teather doesn’t come out and slag him off. Instead she fixes it.
Free schools for example!
When the Tories showed hesitancy about committing to true and fair banking reforms, Vince Cable laid on the pressure and forced that commitment.
And when George Osborne flew the kite of cutting income tax for the wealthy, Danny Alexander cut the string, and stopped him.