There’s been a fair amount of discussion in Liberal Democrat circles, and even the media, about Nick Clegg’s announcement of who the Lib Dem negotiating team would be in the event of a hung Parliament next year.
Yet despite much of the discussion featuring questions such as ‘why now?’, ‘is it wise to do this ahead of an election?’ and so on, I’ve yet to find anyone mention one salient fact.
Namely that the party leader has put together a negotiation team at roughly this time in the Parliament all through the party’s history. The exact details have varied a little, but really the only thing different this time is that the names have been officially confirmed and made public.
That’s a good innovation. It’s odd, however, that most of the discussion has been as if no-one other than me has noticed it.
(For what it’s worth, on the timing issue, I’d simply put down this challenge: Labour’s preparation for hung Parliament negotiations was barely more than a quick cup of tea between Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson. Show me how that brilliantly set up the Labour Party for the talks and you’ll convince me there shouldn’t be an team in place a year and more ahead of an election in order to start its preparations.)