Wednesday 6 July 2011

The Lib Dem 2

I’ve not commented on the Lib Dem 2 to date.  Given the serial misuse of my name by one of them, I’m not sure that I shouldn’t declare an interest.
I referred to one case of mistaken identity during last year’s election, when Plaid HQ were puzzled as to why I’d had my picture taken with some Lib Dem employees posing as public sector workers.  It hasn’t been the only instance of confusion.
Last week, not for the first time, I was congratulated on having been elected to the Assembly, and I’ve received more than a few commiserations on being investigated by the police following my alleged electoral irregularities.  I’ve also – and this one is at least entirely understandable - been asked by a number of confused people what on earth possessed me to join the Lib Dems.
The process since the election has been something of a saga.  That the rules have been poorly thought-through and badly-written seems clear.  That the information wasn’t updated everywhere it should have been at the right time also seems indisputable.  That the rule about when people need to resign from certain bodies should be revisited is generally accepted (although there may well be a need to consider the various bodies concerned on an individual basis; there are good reasons why candidacy is incompatible with some memberships).
Regardless of what common sense might tell us, the bottom line is that, no matter how silly the rules, or how incompetent those responsible for making, publicising, or enforcing them are or were, at the time of the election the two were, according to those rules, ineligible to stand as candidates. 
Perhaps common sense will prevail today; the acceptance by the Lib Dems that the position of the two members is slightly different may assist with that.  It’d be no bad thing if common sense prevailed more often over badly-drafted rules and laws.  But if that is to be a defence against breaking the rules, it has ramifications well beyond the doings of politicians and the operation of electoral law.


Gwilym said...

Don't you think Aled Roberts should be suspended until it is clear whether or not he accessed that Welsh - language website? I'm sure that an investigation would not take more than a couple of weeks.

John Dixon said...


I'm not convinced that whether he did or did not visit the website concerned is as provable or disprovable as some are suggesting. The idea that everything each of us does on the internet is completely traceable is a little exaggerated, I suspect.

And given that the vote has now taken place, I see little purpose to be gained in further pursuing the question unless and until someone comes up with something a lot more tangible than has been produced so far.