Values Outfoxed by practicalities
In choosing a week to bury excruciating news, the Liberal Democrats have excelled at an ugly art. Westminster slumbers in recess, voters are on holiday or reeling from the latest horrors of Isis – and Nick Clegg tersely announces Lord Rennard has been reinstated as a party member, all disciplinary action miraculously evaporated.
The Guardian 21 August 2014 : Lord Rennard’s return to the Lib Dem fold caps a sorry saga of mistakes
It’s a typical bind that a party like the Lib Dems would get caught up in. In holding them up for criticism and ridicule, a part of me feels sorry for the injured little critters.
They are very earnest about opposition to discrimination, keen to promote equality, they have voluminous rules and constitutions, and a desire to stand up for individual rights.
But they fail to realise that they are not an extra-judicial authority. It is therefore very hard to impose any form of discipline on an individual (and threaten his rights) unless there is a criminal conviction or a civil judgement on which they can lean.
It’s grossly unsatisfactory for the complainants, but it is a result of having aspirations and values which you can’t deliver.
But I can’t see a party like the Lib Dems saying it is a condition of joining that you agree that you may be expelled by a party tribunal without appeal to normal judicial processes – that goes against their values.
Now such a condition may help UKIP – perhaps they have such a condition?