LibLink: Mark Pack – Lib Dems revel in a share of power

At Comment is Free, Mark Pack shares his impressions of the Liberal Democrat Special (not-so-secret) Conference held yesterday in Birmingham.

In an atmosphere I described yesterday as “more wedding than wake” more than a thousand party members met to debate the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition agreement.

Mark captures the mood of a party who now have their hands on the levers of power:

Travelling by train to the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday, I did what I usually do on my way to party conferences – read through the agenda and background policy information.

Except this time there was one key difference. I wasn’t reading a list of worthy exhortations from which, if the Liberal Democrats were really lucky, a couple of policies might be lifted by another party a few years in the future. Instead, I was reading an agreed programme for government which is being put into force.

Moreover, despite it being an agreed programme with the Conservative party, large chunks of it were straight out of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. Even on issues where the parties firmly disagree, the agreement in practice does not change much. Yes, the Liberal Democrats in principle like the euro and the Conservatives do not. But in practice almost no one in the party thinks the economic circumstances for joining the euro have any chance of being right in the next five years, so in practice saying no the euro for the next few years requires no alteration of policy.

That is why the people I met at Birmingham, just like those I had talked to in the preceding week, were overwhelmingly pleased with the coalition government’s policy agreement. Compared with the usual habit of reading a new government’s plans and disagreeing with most of them, this is an agreement where – thanks to the party’s decision to take part in a coalition – the overwhelming majority are ones the party supports.

Read the full piece here.

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7 Comments

  • Andrea Gill 17th May '10 - 2:33pm

    Maybe “revel” is not the best choice of wording there? 😉

  • Andrea Gill 18th May '10 - 1:24pm

    @Mark – Ah thanks for clearing that up! guardian podcasts have been fairly open-minded but they’ve seemingly changed their minds about supporting us so no surprise!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 18th May '10 - 1:34pm

    I see it’s being suggested that Nick Clegg and William Hague sharing a country house would be a suitable scenario for a new sitcom:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8689187.stm

    Presumably to be entitled “You Rang, M’Lord President?”

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