I have a brand new bee in my bonnet.

Two classes of people seem determined to fail to understand how coalition government works. I can’t tell if it’s stupidity or they’re deliberately doing it because they think it’s a reasonable form of “opposition”.

1) The Lib Dem voter

These people keep cropping up as commentators on radio and TV or vox-pops, saying “we didn’t vote for XXX so the LibDems shouldn’t be doing it”. The latest offender is Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Radio2 today. She’s having a go at Vince Cable as it is announced that he may abstain on the vote on his OWN proposal.

But even a ten year old should be able to realise that as SecState he has to put forward the policies of the government. The coalition agreement then permits him to not have to vote for it! If he were a tory minister this would be hypocracy. As he’s a Lib Dem, it’s a realistic result of the situation, and the LD voters should be glad that he is able to abstain in the vote, and isn’t forced by whip and party policy to support it.

In summary, Dear LibDem voter in the street, take note, that election we just had? YOU DIDN’T WIN! If we had a majority LD government every compaint I’m hearing would be valid. Go out and get your mates and family to vote LD next time and just maybe…

2) The opposition.

Hey, see above, the nature of the coalition government is clear enough, it isn’t even secret, it’s available here for all to see. As such, you’re not fooling anyone when you cast about suggesting that LD members are behaving oddly with respect to their manifesto and stated policies and preferences.  Stop wallowing around in your “it’s so unfair” gloom, get over the fact that you (entirely deservedly) lost the last election, and start being a proper opposition who point out real flaws and put forward realistic alternatives. Or resign yourselves to not getting back into government for some time – the main reason you were in as long as you were is because the other lot never got the hang of being a half way credible opposition. Learn from them, or flounder.

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