Isabel Hardman

In football as in politics, the Lib Dems have a losing policy

In football as in politics, the Lib Dems have a losing policy
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The Liberal Democrats now have an official party policy that football clubs wanting to win is a cause for concern. The party's conference has just approved a motion, which Coffee House reported on yesterday, complaining that 'winning has become the primary motive in the sport' and about an 'influx of overseas investment'. The motion was amended slightly, though the gist is the same: Party policy now says that winning in football is a dangerous thing. Jeremy Browne must be thrilled.

Some speakers in the debate were a little worried about how this must look to anyone else watching - or indeed to many people in the party who had a good think about what the word 'liberal' means before applying that label to themselves. Joe Otten, parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Central, told the (not particularly full) hall that this motion was 'toxic' and an 'embarrassing and wrong way of trying to reform football'. But most people who'd bothered to turn up didn't agree.

Previously the Lib Dems have been mocked for having a goldfish policy. For any who thought this was a joke or a misinterpretation of what actually happened, it's ok: they now have a football policy, and one that doesn't sound very liberal at all.

So official Lib Dem policy is that winning can be a bad thing. The only people who'll agree with that are the England men's team, and perhaps the Lib Dems themselves, currently very happy at 7 per cent in the polls.