'Labour and LibDem angrily blame each other – but beneath it the political culture is starting to change' – Guardian leader today

There was a bit of tweetycuffs on the #blognation front earlier today when James Graham made an excellent point:

Sorry ppl were offended by me pointing that LDs form the fulcrum of politics atm, but its a fact ppl we all have to deal with

We always have to deal with the centre of gravity in politics – for years LDs had to put up with the fact it lay in Labour

In a funny sort of way, that point – that the LibDems are very much forming the fulcium of British politics at the moment, is underlined by Martin Rowson’s cartoons in the Guardian. We’ve waited decades to be lampooned like that! – Simon Hughes as Jiminy Cricket! Hilarious! 

Forming a substantial counterweight to the cartoon in the Guardian this morning, was a very mature and sensible leading article called “Liberal Democrats – Growing Pains”:

…the past seven days in politics…can be seen as a tough lesson in the realities of coalition politics that everyone who favours a fairer electoral system is going to have to get used to. No single party can ever deliver everything its supporters want and nor can a coalition: the best it can aim to do is to deliver as much as it can of its programme while conceding as little as possible of what offends against its principles.

…while historians point to Liberals’ past unhappy experience of coalition, it has never before produced the prize that Mr Clegg now has within his grasp: constitutional reform that would include a change in the voting system that will end the automatic dominance of one of two main parties. The long-term reward of a more transparent and accountable political system and one, moreover, that will make sharing power a commonplace is the prize that has to be weighed against the pain of a regressive budget. Judging from reports of rising membership and contributors to websites like Lib Dem Voice, this is the interpretation of many of the party’s activists. Like estranged lovers, Labour and Lib Dem supporters each angrily blame the other side. But beneath the jibes, the political culture is beginning to change.

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'Cameron could speak at LibDem conference' – No! No! No! Haven't we done enough? Do we now have to put up with being patronised?

I mean. We’ve bitten our pride and gone into this coalition for the good of the country. We’ve put up with a budget which made pillocks like Redwood gleam and kicked the poor. Do we now have to have the Prat from Peasemore – Mr Cameron – turning up at our conference and patronising us?!

It’s adding insult to injury!

No! No! No! No!

Allow us some dignity – pul-lease!

Beer, Spotify friends, saving lives, a heart-warming film and looking for £3.5million to buy a boyhood dream

…A bit of a cultural diary for the week.

* Our local Sainsburys are now stocking a wonderful selection of bottled beer. To go with the hot weather, I bought a few bottles of Bath Ales’ Golden Hare. I must say it is a superb beer for the summer. A light, golden brew but with a full slate of flavours.

I notice that this particular brewery has set a number of hares running. As well as the Golden one, they have Dark, Wild and Rare Hares as well.

* I have belatedly realised that I can hook up with friends on Spotify in order to try other people’s playlists. This is a delight. I had found it rather tedious to create Spotify playlists from scratch but now I just try other people’s, as well as sharing mine. It’s opened up a whole new world.

* I was very moved by a recent Red Cross TV advert which showed a little girl who died choking on a grape. It’s based on a real incident, and features an actress playing the little girl speaking ‘from beyond the grave’, saying “There were adults there. I knew I was safe – they would know what to do”. Unfortunately they didn’t and the girl died – which, of course, she might have done even if someone had administered first aid.

Well, this advert affected me very deeply. I immediately went to www.sja.org.uk and booked myself on a one day first aid course which I completed this week. It’s amazing what can be packed into a day. I did attain a St Johns ambulance certificate for First Aid about 35 years ago, so this was a timely updating! In fact, quite a lot has changed. For example, in the old days, I remember you began heart massage with one huge blow to the chest and the objective seemed to be to try to get the heart going again. Now, there is no huge blow, it’s just 30 press downs at the speed of “Nellie the Elephant” (100 per minute) and then two blows, then 30-2-30-2 etc ’til professional help arrives. – The objective being to keep the blood moving.

* During the week we wanted to watch some telly together as a family but there was nothing on and we had nothing the right length recorded. So we had a play with iPlayer and found something called “Blessed“. We gave it a whirl. It turned out to be a delightful family film with James Nesbitt as a stockbroker who loses his family, then becomes a lighthouse keeper and finds little girl in a wrecked boat. He eventually adopts the little girl (mind you, Social services didn’t appear to be much in evidence) and buys the island with the lighthouse after it is automated. It really was an enchanting and heart-warming film.

 * My objective for the next week is to persuade my bank manager to lend me £3.5 million so I can buy this – my boyhood dream!

LibDem MPs back Clegg on the budget

From the Guardian:

Support for Nick Clegg is holding up among Liberal Democrat MPs at the end of the most difficult week for the coalition after the budget heralded a freeze in child benefit and a VAT increase from next year.

A Guardian survey of Lib Dem MPs found unease about some of the harsh measures, but also consensus that tough action needs to be taken to tackle the record fiscal deficit and agreement that Labour is in no position to offer lectures.