Ok, they’ve gone and done it. The Lib-Dems have outdone Spinal Tap. If you haven’t seen the film, the guitarist has a special dial which ‘goes up to eleven’. On the newly configured scale of bare-faced political audacity, the Lib-Dems have hit eleven already. Now, though, they’ve gone beyond…
Take a look at Ed Davey’s blog. If you don’t know Ed’s political patch, he’s a Lib Dem in what twenty years ago was Tory-land. He’s carved out an empire for himself by presenting himself, over many years, as a palatable alternative to the boys (and girls) in blue.
Now, there have been all sorts of remarkable justifications from the Libs for jumping into bed with the Cons, but Ed Davey’s is the most audacious. In a truly remarkable piece of political number-shuffling he claims ‘87% of voters’ in his constituency ‘chose’ the coalition Government.
Wow, you might think, that’s virtually everyone. Hurray for the Lib-Cons!
Or you could think: how on earth did he get this figure?
It wasn’t by interviewing a random sample of constituents and asking them the question: did you, with your single vote, choose a coalition Government and, in particular, a Conservative-Liberal coalition with the Conservatives as the majority party?
Oh no, of course he didn’t. Davey went further.
He devised a whole new branch of mathematics: LibDemAddition.
This allows the total Conservative vote to be added to the total Liberal Democrat vote. The new total, according to LibDemAddition, is precisely equal to those in favour of the coalition. So even ‘votes against’ are now actually ‘votes for’
I know the election was a few weeks back, but where was the box marked ‘coalition’? Where, indeed, was the box marked ‘Lib-Con’ coalition? How can it be possible, in any kind of poll, to combine two separate responses and claim them as an endorsement for a third, previously unspecified, option? (And this remember is the party of ‘new politics’, who were supposed to be above this kind of thing).
It’s like a drinks company saying 50% of people like beer, 50% like lemonade…therefore everyone loves a shandy.
Although, come to think of it, shandy is pleasant enough; unlike the Liberal Democrats who are starting to leave a nasty taste in the mouth. A taste which resembles naked political opportunism.