antisemitism,  UK Politics

The Liberal Democrats’ dark side

Nick Cohen in Standpoint:

Among the many failures of political journalists in this election — and we got pretty much everything about it wrong right up to the last minute when we were predicting a small Conservative majority — was the failure to understand the Liberal Democrats. Before Nick Clegg stormed the first leaders’ debate, lobby correspondents did not stir themselves to cover the party, even though it won 62 seats and close to six million votes in the 2005 general election. Lib Dems justifiably complained about the narrowness of Westminster journalists’ concerns and their lazy refusal to investigate the opinions of a country that had long ago broken away from two-party politics. But they should have been grateful that reporters have not looked too hard at the Liberals’ dark side. If they had, they would have seen it sinking in a swamp of conspiratorial paranoia.

I am not taking an untypical case and exaggerating it for effect. I accept that all political parties have foul people in them, whose presence unscrupulous journalists can exploit to damn the wider organisation. So let me say from the beginning that the presence of Jenny Tonge as a peer on the Lib Dem benches in the Lords is not in itself an indictment of the Liberal politicians now in office. Rather, their willingness to defend her as she recycles some of the foulest racist theories in European history indicts them as shallow, slippery men.

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