Friday 26 March 2004

Power or principles?

I do think that the Liberal Democrats need to decide just what they are for, other than merely being in government:
THE Scottish Liberal Democrats were yesterday accused of selling out their principles in a vote at Holyrood over GM crops.

The majority of Liberal MSPs refused to support a Green motion calling for ministers to rethink their strategy on GM crops, choosing instead to back the Scottish Executive.

Naturally, other MSPs took advantage of the LibDem's discomfiture:
Following yesterday’s vote, opposition parties immediately accused the Liberal Democrats of abandoning their policies and selling out the democratic process.

The last Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto states that until the public debate on GM is concluded, they would not permit any further GM field trials or commercial growing of GM crops.

More worrying for the LD's is the reaction of their own voters. There was a phone-in on Radio Scotland earlier today to coincide with the party's Dundee conference. I heard a lot of anger from LibDem voters who thought that their MSPs were putting power before principle. One Glaswegian-sounding caller said, "Most LibDems are in the north of Scotland and as far I am concerned the further north they go the better!" I can easily foresee a Conservative revival in those small town and rural areas that they once controlled.