Jeremy Browne said many excellent things in his interview in the Independent last weekend about how we would be vetoing anything like the snooping bill Theresa May originally ventured. Admittedly he didn't say 'unless there's a rolling back of current intrusive laws, May can do one', that would be hoping for too much and he probably went as far as it's possible to go. And for a Minister who one side of the party eyes with wary caution in case he's hiding a blue rossette under his jacket, and the other side view as the shoe in to replace Nick as leader if David Laws has flu when that day comes around, it was probably a smart thing to say just before conference.
And then he goes and spoils it by saying something stupid like, 'I love y...', no hang on, saying something stupid like...
"But he spoke of his fears that some activists still had not adjusted to the reality of being in government. "The danger is they see this as a five-year period to be endured before they can get back to the easier comforts of being an opposition party that criticises other people who do things rather than doing thiUngs yourself: the politics of the sit-in protest rather than the politics of implementation in office."
Now, there are a very small minority of members who didn't want coalition in the first place. I remember a few dissenting hands going up at the special conference. They will have represented a number of other members who couldn't be in Birmingham.
I don't believe these people are only happy when we are in opposition. I think they don't want to be part of a coalition with the Tories. I don't agree with them - I think I'd rather be in government trying to curb the Tory's worst excesses than out of government watching them create merry hell, plus this coalition is the closest expression to the will of the people post May 2010 that I can see. But I understand and respect the position of those who take the other view. And I think MPs should respect those views, rather than have a go at them.
I think it's part of a worrying 'them and us' mentality some of our MPs are beginning to form, a view that if the activists don't like something it's because they're not tough enough for government, or that we just don't understand
Whereas I take the view that if I don't like something it's probably because I don't think it's very Liberal or Democratic.
And if I see Jeremy Browne in Brighton - I'll tell him that.