Monday 17 December 2012 was, in some ways, another day at the office for the Coalition.
It started with a speech by Nick Clegg which was principally about his desire to move the Liberal Democrats, Blair-style, Rightwards towards ideology-free territory of the ‘centre ground’. It ended with a signifier of what that might resemble, as Liberal Democrat MPs (with the honourable exceptions of Martin Horwood and Greg Mulholland) trooped through the Tory lobbies to vote for George Osborne’s discredited ‘shares for rights’ proposal, to the Right of anything in the Coalition Agreement, rejected by over 90% of responders to the Government’s own consultation on the subject, the overwhelming majority of Liberal Democrats from all corners of the Party, and displaying contempt for the comprehensive employee co-ownership proposals passed just a couple of months ago at Liberal Democrat Federal Conference.
I am not normally a person to react to polls, but the universal trend is there for all to see. The legacy of the shameless Richard Reeves, probably the worst political strategist in the world, is untold damage to the standing of the Liberal Democrats. There is work in hand to repair the damage; but is the ship holed below the waterline? The evidence of yesterday is painfully clear to see.