Alex Massie

The Lib Dems’ Iran Gaffe

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It's a gaffe, of course, because it is both true and something you're not supposed to say. Be this as it may, it strikes me that while political professionals and grizzled foreign policy specialists may chunter about the Liberals' naivete and the rest of it, the general public will be less likely to complain that the party opposed to attacking Iran is the dangerous, mad party that can't be trusted.

Both views, for sure, have some merit. And so do Brother Korski's questions:

What would the Lib Dems do if negotiations fail? Negotiate some more?

So what happens if the International Community agrees to military action? What would Nick Clegg do if diplomacy fails and Iran acquires a bomb, which it uses as a shield to protect Hezbollah, as the Shiite movement attacks Israel? I hope somebody asks Nick Clegg what he would do.

Change his mind? That seems the most probable, perhaps also the most sensible, answer because those questions, at least in terms of their relevance to the Liberal Democrats, haven't yet arisen. When or if they do the answers might be different.

Right now, however, I really don't think saying that we “oppose military action against Iran” is going to cost the Liberals many votes...

PS: Their policy on Trident, mind you, makes no sense whatsoever. But, apart from tax, one wonders how much attention people are paying to Lib Dem policy anyway and thus how much impact a policy-based critique can have.

UPDATE: Brother Korski responds in the comments and there's a fine contribution from Anthony too. I agree: the Lib Dems' policy is not well-thought out, not so much because of its detail but because it betrays a lack of rigour. Indeed, they can be open about Iran precisely because, until a week ago, they weren't supposed to be anywhere near government.

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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Topics in this articlePoliticsiranliberal democrats