Alex Massie

A Lib Dem Surge!

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Surprise, surprise: Liberal Democrats like being in government. This, mind you, is only a surprise if you believe the carefully-constructed line, much-loved by the Labour party and some sections of the press, that Liberal Democrat members are appalled by Nick Clegg's decision to take the party into government in partnership with those wicked Conservatives.

This, we're often told, was some kind of betrayal even though Clegg's always been happy to concede that he's a liberal not a Social Democrat. True, there's polling which suggests there's been some decline in Lib Dem support (though not for the coalition parties combined vote) but these polls are, I think, all-but meaningless given that there's not, barring disaster, going to be an election anytime soon.

Still, every time some no-name Lib Dem councillor leaves the party he (it's usually a he) will earn some cheap publicity from hacks always happy to hark on about how the Lib Dems are really two parties that will, in the end, split. Well, maybe. How representative are these people anyway? Answer: not very.

Liberal Democrat membership in England is up 14% this year while existing members are renewing their subscriptions at an increased rate too. As I say, this ought not to be considered too great a surprise but it's worth bearing in mind next time someone tries to persuade you that being in government with the Tories will and must ruin Nick Clegg's party.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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