Loose lips – Part 1

Business Secretary Vince Cable finds himself at the centre of a media storm today because of comments he made in a conversation with undercover newspaper reporters posing as constituents. There are two separate issues I want to explore here, and will do so in two separate posts. The first is the issue of parliamentary privilege. Privilege are the rights and immunities granted to MPs, both individually and collectively. These privileges were first claimed centuries ago when the English House of Commons was struggling to establish a distinct role for itself within Parliament. They were necessary to protect the House of Commons and its Members, not from the people, but from the power and interference of the King and the House […]

By-election discontentment

For the past few weeks, there has been a very interesting discussion about the nature and future of the UK Conservative Party. It was spearheaded by ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie, starting with his first blog post which sought to define “Mainstream Conservatism“, which Montgomerie believes is what most Tory Party members want instead of the “Liberal Conservatism” that is being practiced now by the Tory party in a coalition government with the Lib Dems. Several other people have contributed blog posts to the debate, and the debate has spread to other fora, such as the Spectator blogs. It’s quite interesting to read the discussions. Many commenters feel the entire exercise is either confusing or a waste of time or a bit […]

The comfort of perpetual opposition

I’ve been slowly (very slowly) reading Tony Blair’s memoir. I will admit that I found it very slow to get into, but once past that first chapter, it’s picked up somewhat. Yesterday, I read a section that I found quite interesting. Perhaps it was discussed in the media when Blair’s book first came out, so this won’t be news to anyone. I don’t recall reading anything about this myself, but then again, I certainly did not read every single media piece on the book so may well have missed coverage of this. Blair writes that after Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, he seriously considered bringing the Liberal Democrats into government. This wasn’t driven by political need of course – Labour […]

Clegg’s Conference Speech

Caveat: I’ve never listened to a speech delivered by Nick Clegg to the party faithful before. I have listened to a couple of speeches he’s done as Deputy Prime Minister, but never one delivered in his capacity as leader of the Liberal Democrats. I did watch Clegg’s keynote speech delivered earlier today at the Lib Dem party conference. My caveat above is only to make it clear that I have no point of comparison against which to measure this year’s speech. I don’t know how previous speeches have gone down, during the years when the Lib Dems probably thought, if they were being honest with themselves, that being in power wasn’t going to happen any time soon. I don’t know […]