robjewitt flikr

So the Digital Economy  Bill (#debill) got through its second reading without a vote.  Nobody doubts there’s a lot of good stuff in it.  But, equally, no-one doubts either that it’s flawed and that thousands and thousands of folk have said exactly why.

Obviously it’s a Labour Bill, and obviously the govt and Tories have cut a deal.  But for days now I’ve been hearing about how the Lib Dems were dead against it.  How they were going to show how they can change British politics by being the radical party of the centre (whatever that means).  And do you know what they did?  Answer – Nothing At All.  The Lib Dems could have been true to what they said and, with a significant block of votes amongst those who’ve twittered alone, could have forced a vote which would have embarrassed a lot of members of all parties to turn out and vote against.  But instead they twittered away and stayed away.  It was the most craven, cowardly and cynical thing I’ve seen in my 10 years in the Commons.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of those Lib Dems, many PPCs, who wanted the Lib Dems to vote against.  I truly don’t.  And maybe Lib Dem MPs of the future will have more balls than those of today.  But, from this Labour MP who thinks the Lib Dems do sometimes talk a lot of sense, I think tonights behaviour, Tweeting from a distance but failing to turn up when they really could have moved things, was terrible.

A lot of folk have said they’d vote Lib Dem on the strength of the Lib Dem effort on the DE Bill.  Jesus, their front bench ( a very nice bloke left with an impossible task) even accepted the case for disconnection without trial in a court.  He supported the amendment of Clause 43 re: photography when Labour and the Tories had already killed it off.

With the DE Bill, so with all the other ‘brave, radical stuff’.  Pointless.

I’m going to blog during the election and I swear to God I won’t bang on about party politics the whole time.  There should be a lot more to politics, and life, than that.  But just for now, I promise you that the only thing I’m thinking about now is the utter pointlessness and cynicism of the Lib Dems.

Nuff said.  And no more about the Lib Dems.  FFS.