Caron Lindsay and Stephen Tall have written wisely about tonight’s news. It is telling that both, quite relevantly, quote from their previous posts on the subject. That indicates that we are running out of things to say on this (not in a good way). It is time to move forward, one might say “stagger forward”, older and wiser as a party.
The best thing we can say is that it is extremely regrettable that this all has an unresolved feeling about it. Due process, such as it exists, has been carried out in the last year or so. It was inevitable that Lord Rennard would be reinstated. There was no reason to do other than sustain his membership. On a personal level, I welcome Chris back. I am also acutely aware that there are some very discontented people in the party and, now, outside it. As Stephen says, the missed opportunities to achieve a more satisfactory resolution (for all sides) were years ago. Our party processes have been found wanting, and desperately need the overhaul Tim Farron is hopefully giving them.
Having said all that, I can’t help but think the following. We are a small party. Lord Rennard was, for some years, more revered and respected as being more important than the leader of the party. One might say he was bigger than the party. He was, and is, greatly respected and admired. In that sense, it is not a surprise that the party was discombobulated by all this. But, as the party of liberalism, it is very disconcerting that we were not able to deal properly with this much, much earlier.