The Liberal Democrat vote fell apart and it did so because the electorate see us as collaborators not moderators. They don't mind the Tories making cuts as that's what they do but it just doesn't fit well with the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg knows this and has written "I think it is clear that we need to do more to show people in the party and beyond what we are doing in Government and, perhaps more importantly, why. Because we are achieving a great deal. The BBC estimates that we are implementing 75% of the policies of in our manifesto, compared to just 60% of the Conservative manifesto".
The trouble is that the electorate don't appreciate it. I thought that ministers had responsibility to toe the government line. So the arguments we heard in Cabinet this week just sound like Liberal Democrats are losing their discipline, but if ministers can't say what we are doing then who is telling the voters that we are moderators? Nick isn't telling us what we want to hear, he is telling us that the BBC are telling us what we want to hear. He may as well have given us the link.
If it is the rank and file who must instruct the electorate then that rank and file became a lot smaller this week. In my ward we put out a monthly leaflet which became weekly in the last three weeks before the election. On election eve I was knocking on a door with a mini-survey and I was given the advice to put out the leaflets before the postal vote. Well there was a pre-postal vote leaflet but our message obviously didn't get home.
We can't rely on rank and file, even if they work really hard. We can't rely on ministers as they are collaborators whether they like it or not. There are two options. Continue on the same path and lose more and more councillors, or say enough is enough.
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