Why is it that whenver someone says on GMTV that the party is not doing well enough, it is interpreted not as the statement of the obvious that it is, but as a comment on the leadership? And yes, I know that Ashley asked specifically about the leadership, but presumably as a response to Vince making this (crushingly banal to anyone with a smidge of perspective) observation that the party is not doing well enough.
Any self-respecting political party should want to be in power, or what is it there for? If the polls suggest that this is not about to happen, then the party is not doing well enough. The further the polls are from showing that, the less well they are doing, ultimately. Of course, direction of travel is also important, but that’s another matter. The way these statements are interpreted by the media (in their wider sense) is bizarre, until you realise that for them, the Lib Dems’ purpose is not to be in power, because they don’t see us as a normal party. They couldn’t give a shit about the policies; as far as they’re concerned, the Lib Dems are there as the protest vote, the kingmakers in hung parliaments, and not much else. Oh, yes, and they are mostly to be represented in the form of their leader, whose position is to be continually reassessed when they get bored of discussing anything else. In this light, it makes sense. Problem is, it’s not true. That’s not why I, or any Lib Dem I’ve ever met, joined the party.
Oh, and as for The Sunday Programme, I don’t know why any of our MPs bother to talk to them. It only gets seen by the Westminster villagers who remember to set the video and insomniacs, since this week it will be on at 6am on Sunday. The program only survives by trying to extract some piece of intrigue from a given interview, safe in the knowledge that the spin they are putting on it will not be made to look silly because nobody is actually going to watch the complete interview.