Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Alistair Carmichael’s Food for Thought

Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 27th October, 2010

Keeping Liberal Democrat MPs in line is worse than herding cats, according to LibDem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP, speaking only half tongue in cheek at tonight’s Food for Thought social event put on by the Kensington and Chelsea local party. As Alistair is, under the Coalition arrangements, Deputy Government Chief Whip as well, his task is not a particularly enviable one, particularly at a time of deep public spending cuts and curtailed social security benefits. He had some tough questioning from the floor about social housing policy and university tuition fees, to mention but two themes, but he dealt with these with both humour and firmness. As he reminded the audience — notably swelled byGLA list hopefuls from different parts of London — Britain does not have a LibDem government but a Coalition, in which there has had to be a degree of give and take. Despite the fact that the Conservatives have only one MP in Scotland and are still seen by many residents of Scotland’s central industrial belt as anathema, Alistair was reasonably confident that the LibDems north of the border will not get punished too much for guilt by association when the Scottish Parliament elections come round next May. If the Coalition hangs together as planned, then Westminster MPs will not have to face the electorate again until 2015. Besides, Alistair, as MP for Orkey and Shetland, has just about the safest LibDem seat in the country — Jo Grimond’s old fiefdom, that has only been held by a non-Liberal three times since 1832.

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