I saw precious little of Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon. The phone rang even before it started and then I had to go off to do the school run.
However there were some wee gems in the few minutes I did manage to watch.
First of all, Nick Clegg was attacked on Lords Reform and reminded that some of our Peers are less than helpful on the subject. Nick decided that this was not a time for tact and subtlety:
“The power of a whiff of ermine on a person’s views on this subject never ceases to amaze me.”
I suspect that will seriously annoy certain members of the House of Lords – not just those who are being obnoxiously stubborn in their refusal to go along with party policy. There are plenty others who feel unloved and unappreciated by the Party Leadership. A disdain for the institution doesn’t necessarily have to mean disrespect of the people you put in it. There are a lot of good people in there and, a bit like the AV campaign painted all MPs as lazy, remote imbeciles who needed to work harder, Clegg’s statements about the Lords in recent weeks does not reflect the hard and effective work they put in.
Having said all of that, I’m glad to see him come out with some robust statements, not just on this, but on Beecroft. When asked at DPMQs whether the Government was secretly planning to implement regional pay, his answer was a swift and emphatic “No.” I just think that his language just needs a bit of fine tuning to reflect both the need for reform and the work of the many lifelong public servants who have done so much to enhance the laws of the land. Yes, of course they should be elected, but trashing our current Liberal Democrat incumbents can be ounter productive.
I have had enough of Liberal Democrats being horrible about other Liberal Democrats for one day.