Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In which I rant at Simon Hughes.

Dear Simon

I had an e-mail from you tonight.

When I see your name come up in my inbox, I expect that what I'm going to read is going to make me feel all good and comforted. Tim Farron gave us all a kick up the arse on Lib Dem Voice the other day and I thought this was you comforting us. You and him are a pretty good double act. He's the zingy curry, laden with chillies, which invigorates us. You are the mashed potato that makes us feel content.

Yes, I needed Tim's boot on my posterior, but I also needed you to say something to say that you got how I was feeling.  You see, I'm being pretty brave, but I still feel all heartbroken inside after the election. Some of my favourite people in the whole world, the hardest working, devoted, committed public servants you'd ever wish to find, lost their seats. And it wasn't their fault. Some of them were even prepared to accept their defeat if it meant that no child would ever have to spend the night in a detention centre again.

We all still feel a little bit raw. Or maybe even a lot raw.

So why, Simon, why in the name of the word that rhymes with duck, have you sent out an e-mail that starts with the words "It's been a great month for Liberal Democrats"? It doesn't matter what the rest of it says. For many of us the red mist will have descended by the time we scanned the word Democrats.

You are not normally this crass and insensitive, but you have made a mistake with this. I am so disappointed. It's like someone served me a plate of mashed potatoes that was laced with capers and vinegar.

Maybe this was written by somebody who's so far inside the bubble that they need to be reintroduced to the outside world, to mix with the people they are writing to.

Sorry to be so negative, but I had to get that off my chest.

And, although you don't deserve it, I'll publish the rest of it at the bottom of this so people can see the good environmental stuff we've put in place in government.

If you'd started by saying "I know we're all feeling a bit raw at the moment. It's been a tough few weeks, but we'll fight back, we'll get there in the end. We understand." or words to that effect, it would have been a lot better.

Please can you learn from this one. And please can you grab onto the ankles of those who are so far inside that cosy bubble of government that they've forgotten what life is like on earth for those of us who have to pick up the pieces.

Ok, rant over - but don't do anything so crass again.


Oh, and PS, could you please make sure that somebody sends members in Scotland an e-mail which mentions the fact that we have a lovely new leader and how pleased you are that he's there.  Thank you.

 And here is the rest of Simon's e-mail. I can't bring nyself to put in the first line - but I think you'd have got the drift of what it was about.

  • Two weeks ago, Chris Huhne, as Energy and Climate Change Secretary, led for the government when his Department's Energy Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons. This creates the framework for the Green Deal, a comprehensive programme of energy efficiency improvements for housing and office buildings, cutting both energy bills and emissions. Householders and business will be able to see up to £10,000 invested in insulation, at no up-front cost, paying back the investment through the lower energy bills they will enjoy as a result.

  • Last week, Chris Huhne announced the government’s ‘carbon budget’ for the mid-2020s, setting a legal requirement for a 50 per cent reduction (from 1990) by 2025. This creates the certainty businesses need to put in place long-term investments in the expanding low-carbon industries – renewable electricity, electric cars, home insulation. This is the most ambitious legally binding carbon budget set by any government anywhere; and by putting the UK at the forefront of the international debate, we will be able to push the EU and the international community towards further emissions cuts world-wide.

  • And this week, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, revealed details of the Green Investment Bank, the world’s first green development bank. Up and running from April 2012, this will use an initial £3 billion of public money to lever an additional £15 billion in private investment towards the low-carbon opportunities that are opening up – particularly in offshore wind and energy efficiency.

I was this party’s first environment spokesman over twenty years ago. It makes me proud to see what so many of us campaigned for all those years ago being made a reality now we’re in government. This is a key part of what we Liberal Democrats bring to the coalition, and none of this would have happened without us. As Nick said yesterday, ‘the LibDems have long been the greenest of the main three parties - the difference now is that it is not just a green party but a green party of government’.


Simon Hughes MP

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons and President of the Green Liberal Democrats

Update: I hear from Tim Farron via Twitter that this post has made it onto the Guardian's Daily Blog. So, if you've come from there, welcome. Please feel free to browse around. It's not all about politics here - if you like Doctor Who, or Formula One or trashy tv dancing shows, or all manner of random stuff, you'll maybe find something else to amuse you.


Kelvin Holdsworth said...

Absolutely the same reaction that I had, Caron.

Particularly silly when there is so much ample evidence at the ballot box that the party cannot be trusted in what it says - it hasn't been a good month for the Liberal Democrats and there will be no dealing with the problems until they are faced up to and dealt with head on.

You're also right about emails like that needing to be regionally appropriate.

eastender said...

Perhaps it is time to really see that your party has been kidnapped. The only thing they care about is ministerial limos.

ascorbic said...

Did you get a different email from me? Mine said "It's been a great month for Liberal Democrats who are setting the pace on the green agenda!" which has a somewhat different meaning.

Unknown said...

Eastender, my party has its liberal soul and values intact. And our ministers are working really hard to take the sting out of the Tories.

Ascorbic, by the time you get to the who the red mist has descended. It was a stupid way to start anything to any fellow Liberal Democrat after the month we've had. There is quite simply no excuse.

Boxi-leaks said...

I can explain quite clearly why the Lib Dems don't get much credit in government.

Most of the Lib Dem Policies that have made it on to the statute book, were also Conservative party policies.

If you look at lib Dem policies that have been brought in, that weren't also in the Conservative manifesto, you're not really looking at a great deal.

This coalition, for me, is the Lib Dems accepting they won't have much of a say, as the price of power.

And both parties doing their best to keep Lib Dem members on side.

Boxi-leaks said...

"And our ministers are working really hard to take the sting out of the Tories."

I really don't agree with this at all.

If the Lib Dems weren't supporting the Conservatives in government, you almost certainly wouldn't have £9'000 tuition fees.

You almost certainly wouldn't have the level of cuts you are seeing. Both the Lib Dems and the Labour Party only wanted to halve the deficit in 5 years.

In truth, the Conservatives have given the Libs a bit of power, and a few policies, to ensure that 99% of their core policies get through


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