The phrase ‘we are all in this together’ must seep into all facets of our lives if it’s to be meaningful. Politics ought not to be exempt from this. There are three positions which opposition parties could adopt in the current crisis, being with Government unquestioningly; being with Government and challenging them; or adopting a neutral stance while being critically questioning. Options 2 and 3 could be significantly bolstered by a Progressive Alliance voice consisting of all the Opposition Parties.
There isn’t another need for a third party to fill an imaginary gap, again, but there is a crying need from people for a strong voice to challenge many, many actions being taken or not taken while the death toll rises.
But unless the Lib Dems recognise this opportunity to work together with Labour a chance to get the party onto the public eye, with a view to serving the public as part of a coalition in opposition, will be lost.
While Sir Ed Davey, current leader of the party, has been calling for a Select Committe to be set up to examine the Government’s response to the Pandemic, there is no evidence of any moves being made to work with Labour as such. The make up of a select committee is vastly different from the make up of a Progressive Alliance. The latter only consists of opposition parties. Therein lies the important distinction.
A look at Ed Davey’s Twitter feed will show you that the Lib Dem leader is gaining some traction from the public over his message that Parliament ought to be recalled. While there are the usual insults in people’s tweeted replies which happens to all politicians, it is interesting to note that there are calls for Opposition parties to work together.
How much more evidence do Lib Dem leaders need about the positives of being part of a Progressive Alliance? The dreadful election result for the Lib Dems under the equally disastrous leadership of Jo Swinson ought to be the last shred of evidence needed. She outrightly refused to work with Labour while being pro-Europe. It was a ‘paint me into a corner’ style of leadership fought on arrogance and false victory gleaned from the number of MPs who jumped their mother ships to join the Lib Dems.
Ed Davey may be asking the right questions during these times but there is still more than whiff of the type of combative politics fought against Labour. Point scoring is best done as an after thought when one is currently in a position of being the underdog. In other words people are mainly looking to Labour for answers and not to the Lib Dems. Work with Labour now and claim the credit later or, better still, indulge in some ‘show and not tell politics’.
A different tactic for different times. Show some of that caring politics which Lib Dems, in the past, were known for before Cleggy ruined it all.