The word has gone out from Lib Dem Federal Executive that they now, very tediously, are being pressed to make some decisions. This is what always finds them out at Local Government level. And it's why they've been losing control of councils left right and centre when the people at large weigh up their records.
I shall always remember the gist of the statement of the just busted Oldham Lib Dem leader in the 2004 all-out I think it was. He had lost his own seat and his party had been kicked out unceremoniously after just one failed year at the helm.
And he said something very true but very silly too:
"In opposition we can say anything at all and do nothing whatsoever. But in office you have to make tough decisions. We just weren't up to that."
Being a stickler for accuracy and fairness I'll try to find the exact quote which appeared in editions of the Manchester Evening News, but that was the gist.
They Lib Dems also face the difficulty of often being elected by quite extraordinary rainbow coalitions. Popular fronts. With at best a small nucleus of proper Liberals and Social Democrats they then build up a Misery Massive.
An Abilene Paradox:
There are the dyed-in-the-wool Anyone But Tory and their polar opposites the dyed-in-the-wool Anyone But Labour .. sometimes co-existing within the same local government area, surprising bed fellows in a kind of Abilene Paradox. [No coincidence that the letters L I B can be found in there if you play the word back to front.] In which a decision is reached which no-one particularly wants, even that all parties would normally reject.
These squeezed long time protest curmudgeons, detached from their tribal Labour or Tory roots by: that drip drip drip "Only Lib Dems can beat your tribal enemy here". Those Central Scaling bar charts. And racing donkey lineart. Or latterly post Michael Brown the upscale full colour racecourse equivalent. Or new this year donkey derby silouettes in party colours.
Added to these tribes there are dabblers with a grass is greener, change is good as a rest "rationale". And the two tribe members who've gone cold over something. The Iraq War or PFI for Labourites perhaps. Europe or Cameron for the Tories. And then one step beyond these the socialists, anarchists, nihilists and their balancing agents of the right and far right.
Never mind a "Balanced Government" here's a balanced party for you right here. With all shades from far left to far right, and much muddle in between.
Assembling this great cortege to principled democracy is a trick mostly achieved using the feelgood quackery of impossible policies that few could oppose. Less tax for you! More stuff for you! Unaffordable tax bribe! Bankruptcy for Liverpool! Politicians are bastards! We're not politicians!
On top of which we have: being against any change that's unpopular with anyone at all. Whether it is popular with others or not. People feeling miserable negatives about something are far more likely to act on this and protest. They know this. And we even have MPs pointing at potholes, demanding gates be fixed, claiming credit for everyone else's achievements, shirking responsibility for anything wrong.
Don't get me wrong. These Libdemologists can be bloody good at this game. And it does work. Though not so much last week as oft times before. But what I want from my MP is someone who will stick up for Manchester and Manchester people and make us proud, not someone who spends 90% of their time running us down, exaggerating and scaremongering; and what's more cries "smear" when anyone tries to hold them to account.
Until 7:30 am on 7 May 2010 I had a bloody good principled left of new labour Labour MP in Tony Lloyd. Now alas, for the first time in my life, I have a misery guts cry baby failing to represent me. But enough of private grief.
Back to the main business. The Liberal Democrats have publicly asked for contributions to their decision making process. It really ought to be a no-brainer. Progressive 63.9% sticks reactionary 36.1%! Up yours Cameron. Populus in today's Times have the nation 50:50 on whether Brown or Cameron should now be PM. With 7% regretting their vote - I'd guess mainly Lib Dem voters unhappy with pandering to Tories.
Anyway, Nick, there's no penalty there for choosing the progressive route, true to your supposed party roots. But apparently for you no-brainer it's not. You need help.
Lib Dems've used twitter and blogs like this one from Helen Duffett.
So they've done this in public. Don't know why. They're mostly after Lib Dem member opinions. Don't they have huge mailing lists and Facebook pages to reach them? And yes, of course, inevitably they've been whining when their tweets - mostly unclear about who's invited - have been RT'd by non-Liberals. Like we're born slippy like them. As if.
Here is LOL's contribution. No doubt convincing Nick Clegg to tell Cameron to "go swivel!" even as we speak.
Signed: Chris Paul
Full address and phone numbers
Here's some exclusively leaked footage of rehearsals for the Lib Dem's next flashmob outing, secret code: The Abilene Paradox:
IMAGES: The lowest one positionally is from the Steve Richard's analysis in The Independent. Like all the MSM pundits but unlike this blogger Mr Richards muchly overestimated the Lib Dem seat haul. The higher image positionally but the lowest conceptually is from some student Libdemologist whose other image is even more hilarious, nonetheless indicative of the mindset of the stop-at-nothing franchise.