The invisible ministers should up their game, or be sacked
However, in one respect my view has got tougher another year and a half on.
The party can’t afford the luxury of the invisible junior ministers – those who do a perfectly nice, decent job somewhere in the bowels of government but are almost never heard of and do almost nothing to win the party votes or attract new members.
Yes, it’s tough being a minister and an MP, taking up for the conscientious the amount of time that in any other profession would have people demanding huge cuts in the hours worked.
But the good ones know that communicating and winning support isn’t an optional extra to be postponed until that mythical free day finally arrives. The good ones know that it is an inherent part of the job – because without coverage, members and votes there ends up being no ministers either.
As for the bad ones, despite being a minister they email fewer party members, secure less press coverage and do less to build up the party than I do, despite me having a full time non-political job. (The same applies too of course to others in the party too. I just happen to notice my own activities more closely and so know the benchmark against which I’m judging others.)
There’s really no excuse for doing so badly as a minster.
Three years in, if a minister hasn’t worked out how to do better than that, should they still be a minister? I think not.
And if Nick Clegg is as serious about repeatedly winning power as he tells the rest of us to be, then he should be giving them all the simple choice: play your part in the party’s political success, or say goodbye to being a minister.