Mark Thompson, the Lib Dem Voice 'Blogger of the Year' in 2012, announced yesterdayhe is leaving the party
This is incredibly sad news.
Mark's leaving is less to do with the party - though he is clearly he is disappointed by many things that have happened in government -
"Of course I wasn’t happy with secret courts, in fact I was furious. The removal of the spare room subsidy is just mean spirited and ultimately self-defeating. Tuition fees were an absolute mess. Cutting the 50p rate may have been economically sensible but was politically idiotic."
But it's rather more to do with the state of party politics in general
"The impetus for me to leave is really because politics is broken. The Westminster Village is obsessed with who managed to shout the best for 5 minutes and get their friends to jeer and point at the other side just after midday on a Wednesday. They genuinely seem to think it matters. I very rarely even bother watching PMQs any more. They insist on speaking in sound bites and clichés and point-blank refuse to answer questions thinking that their “clever” evasions can’t be seen for precisely what they are. The tribal nature of much of what goes on drives me nuts. Labour have been the worst for this in recent years castigating the current government for doing things that they would almost certainly have done themselves and in a number of cases were actively planning to. But none of the main parties are free from this sort of thing. It reduces politics to a bunch of silly games where tiny nuances are picked up on and there are a million hidden rules that only highly experienced practitioners of the “art” of politics are aware of."
I’m sure we all know what Mark means - and the bemusement with which we see politicians who tell us what they think and vote accordingly being held back, demoted or sacked, while those who keep quiet, ‘play the game’ and vote as they are told get promoted for their ‘loyalty’.
And it ends up with anonymous briefings by senior MPs describing the Party President in the most shocking and inappropriate terms. I suspect that particular quote comes from a wing of the party fond of demanding we all ‘act as a grown up party of government’. If that’s what they meant, I want no part of that behaviour.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Mark and exchanged tweets many times. He is a charming, intelligent and reasonable voice for good. He is a huge loss both to the party and party politics. I’m glad he is going to continue to blog and debate the issues he cares about and I hope he continues to get his message heard.
Politics needs more people like Mark. Party politicians of every shade should think about what his decision means. For it says as much about them as it does about the principles of Mark.
Good luck Mark. I hope we see you back in the party one day soon.