The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Whither Collective Responsibility?

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 13, 2010 @ 17:54

It has no relevance, but I utterly love it. Death Is Freedom! Freedom Is Death!

I just know my former academic Overlords would love that title.

One of the most interesting things in the coalition agreement is the points where it is very specifically noted that the two parties plan on agreeing to disagree.

Chris Huhne brought up one of these issues today, and if he hadn’t already, this post would have been very different. I was originally going to ask what kind of twisted logic would allow him to justify the fact that Lib Dem policy is very publicly going to be over-ridden. His excuse: there will be no public subsidy.

Purists will still wince.

The idea, according to the Coalition document, that “a Liberal Democrat spokesman will speak against the planning statement” while his Prime Minister will be calling for the vast expansion of the nuclear industry seems unusual at best. The idea of collective responsibility is that if you disagree, and want to do so publicly, you have to resign.

Not any more! The change is going to take a little getting used to; perhaps it’s a positive development as it acknowledges politicians are people too. It might even make them look a bit more like normal people, not just droids reciting the same script.

But there’s still one bit that puzzles me. In some ways, I don’t really know why the Liberal Democrats were given the department for Energy and Climate Change when everyone knows this particular battle is coming down the track. I’m starting to think it’s been designed to cause the party maximum embarrassment. Surely Nick Clegg didn’t collude to put Chris Huhne in a terribly awkward position? And surely the notion that the government’s Deputy Prime Minister could well abstain against his own government’s plan without resigning is absurd?

But that’s what’s very likely to happen.

That is, unless, the Lib Dems are planning on reversing their long and principled opposition to new nuclear power…

You know, this year, the Liberal Democrats replaced their paper membership cards with very thin plastic ones. I suspect the idea was to make it impossible to tear them up in a fit of rage. Now you have to actually search for the scissors, and that might just give you enough time to think twice about what you’re doing.

But if the party dares to change its position on nuclear power, I know I might try and see if I can rip it up anyway.

That would be most satisfying.

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One Response to “Whither Collective Responsibility?”

  1. […] the latest in my Bill Withers instalments, today I turn my attention to that venerable institution, BBC One’s Question […]

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