Are we being too nice?
Cable’s answer was essentially ‘yes’:
I’d say it probably is a temperamental failure that we have as a party.
But take one look at the Lib Dems’ record, both in and out of government, and Cable’s answer seems a bit disingenuous. And so does the question.
Follow the leader
Let’s start with Cable’s personal voting history:
Vince Cable supported raising tuition fees, privatised Royal Mail on the cheap and voted for the bedroom tax. You can't trust the LibDems.
— George Aylett (@GeorgeAylett) July 20, 2017
Well, they’re not very nice policies. But surely he’s better on other topics:
"LibDems can heal Britain's economic divide" says @vincecable who, in government, voted for the rich to be richer (no tax hike for >£150k, no bankers bonus tax, no mansion tax) & for the poor to be poorer (benefit cuts, VAT hike, bedroom tax). https://t.co/tE46HMeOZ1
— Emlyn's Shoes (@emlynsshoes) September 12, 2018
Alright, but if you look at his overall voting record, he must come across as a good guy:
Vince Cable’s record isn’t pretty pic.twitter.com/k2kHSXlJku
— Cllr Joe Rayment ? (@joerayment91) September 16, 2018
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) July 21, 2018
Not all nasty, right?
Alright, so let’s forget about Cable for a second. Surely some Lib Dems really are ‘too nice’.
Let’s turn to their former leader, Tim Farron:
Tim Farron again refuses to say whether homosexuality is a sin https://t.co/LuSjiFyh6y
— The Guardian (@guardian) June 2, 2017
Well, inferring that gay sex is a sin isn’t nice at all. But personal morals aside, surely he really cared about stopping a hard Brexit:
Given the Lib Dems' sole excuse for existing right now is to be the 'Stop Brexit party', this is off the charts. https://t.co/9MDeUNQ9Ll
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) July 16, 2018
So where was he?
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) July 16, 2018
But come on, he’s a Lib Dem. He must have seen the error of his ways:
Tim Farron: I was a fool to say gay sex is not a sin https://t.co/u52DcXsCGU
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 10, 2018
Well, luckily he knows how to apologise for his faults:
— Evening Standard (@standardnews) July 24, 2015
OK, OK. So some of the Lib Dem leaders have said and done some bad things.
But the former party leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was alright, wasn’t he?
I mean, he got a knighthood:
Nick Clegg’s record in government was shameful. His most infamous betrayal came after he pledged not to increase tuition fees in England.
Clegg sold out over voting reform. He caved in over abolition of the Lords and stood by while David Cameron stuffed more cronies in there ?
— amy wood (@ammmywoood) December 28, 2017
But he managed to put the breaks on Tory austerity, didn’t he? Oh:
Nick Clegg aided and abetted austerity. One of the most painful and damaging policies of a lifetime. He was in a position to stop it and chose not to. So yep. Makes sense he's getting a knighthood.
— Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) December 26, 2017
Well, he didn’t have a choice, right? He was in government and had to work with what he had.
Surely now he realises that austerity wasn’t necessary:
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) September 19, 2017
But come on, it’s not like anyone in the Lib Dems is listening to him anymore:
Close battle between Gina Miller and Nick Clegg for most popular person at #LDConf. Nick’s fringe room has been upgraded to this cavernous arena, and it’s still standing room only. pic.twitter.com/6dC2hegJaA
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) September 17, 2018
Cruel to be kind
There’s no way around it. Objectively, it’s a stretch for the Liberal Democrats to say they’re nice.
They’ve broken promises on tuition fees and backed crippling austerity. They’ve run a homophobic election campaign. And now they’re reportedly trying to sabotage one of the only hopes of removing a Tory government.
So to be brutally honest, the only “temperamental failure” the Lib Dems really have is that they’re yellow Tories.
And as failures go, that’s a pretty bad one.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.