A codicil to my post about Ryan Coetzee’s controversial look back at the Liberal Democrat general election campaign: don’t knock fear.
Implicit in Ryan’s piece – and in many comments from Liberal Democrats, including those who disagree with him – is that there’s something wrong, or even unfair, about the Tories have won using fear.
That’s misplaced. First, fear and politics go together like rain and the English summer. Live with it. Hope, if you wish, for it not to be around. But don’t be so foolish as to expect it to be absent.
What’s more, fear is respectable.
Fear about what an authoritarian Labour Home Secretary would have done with a big database of all our internet activities? That’s a reasonable reaction.
Fear the consequences of the Conservatives repealing the Human Rights Act? That’s a logical reaction.
Fear of what a Ukip immigration policy would look like? That’s a humane reaction.
Fear when based on misrepresentation is to be deprecated. But so too is hope based on false foundations. It’s the false foundations that are the problem, not the fear.
And you know what? That Tory fear message about a hung Parliament, Labour and the SNP? It wasn’t based on myth, it was a perfectly reasonable political viewpoint (and even a predictable one).
So don’t knock fear. Live with it, understand it and even on occasion use it.