I'm breaking the habit of a lifetime here and being charitable to some Liberal Democrats.
The Telegraph used some pretty underhand tactics to get embarrassing quotes from some of the Lib Dems in government. Vince Cable was the highest profile of these MPs and the first to get his quotes splashed across the media but he has been joined by David Heath, Paul Burstow and Norman Baker.
Why am I being generous of spirit? Maybe because it's nearly Christmas, maybe because it's not in the country or either party's interests for the coalition to fall apart but mainly because the Lib Dems are still learning and you should always give newbies a chance to learn from their mistakes.
Whilst both Lib Dem and Conservative parties are new to coalition, the Lib Dems are also completely new to government. Speaking on Radio 4 this afternoon Ann Widdicombe made the point that Lib Dem Cabinet Ministers are learning on the job the things that junior ministers normally learn earlier in their careers. It's not even as if they've had the chance to learn while in opposition, they've never been in opposition.
Cable spoke about battles with the Chancellor to get his priorities funded, what did he think the Conservative ministers were doing? Did he really think that all Conservative Cabinet Ministers got all they asked for? Everyone fights for funding, but those used to collective responsibility know that they have to present a unified position once that funding has been agreed.
The Lib Dems are in a difficult place. They have got the coalition that they have been preying for for decades and it isn't as much fun as they expected. They are realising that being on the battlefield is much harder than being an armchair General and it's starting the hit home to them that having a campaign message that is basically "We're not one of the other two" won't work now that they have had to side with "one of the other two".
There is an old saying from the days of the Raj which goes something like: "If you are going tiger hunting, make sure you are prepared to catch a tiger". The Lib Dems have a tiger by the tail and it is unbecoming of us to take too much pleasure in watching them try to deal with it.
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