Peter Hain should really try to remember his history

I see that the Guardian’s political reporting seems to be stuck in “stating the bleedin’ obvious” mode at the moment. Not only is there the discovery that people think that George Osborne is liability to Tories but they also have the news that a senior Labour figure thinks that at some point in the future Labour might have to work with the Liberal Democrats; ‘Peter Hain says Labour should get ready to do business with Lib Dems‘.

I mention this because the Guardian includes this startlingly silly quote from Hain;

“It seems likely that the ‘Orange Book’ Lib Dem leadership – which hijacked the party and took it into bed with the Tories – will be rejected by a membership desperate to restore the tradition of Asquith, Lloyd George, Keynes, Beveridge, Jo Grimond, David Steel, Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell,”

I’m not going to get into arguing why the whole ‘Orange Book takeover thesis’ is sterile and simplistic — or detail how those seen as so-called “orange bookers” would firmly identify themselves with that tradition. (There is a case for saying that much of the Orange Book emphasis is distinctly Grimondite.) I merely point out that this is less historical analysis and more “list every Liberal figure anybody has ever heard of” — er, except Jeremy Thorpe.

Let’s also ignore the fact that Lloyd George for many years led the Liberals in coalition with — well, the Tories.

As a former Young Liberal, Hain should really be able to do better than this.


Peter Black has made a very similar criticism on his blog; ‘Peter Hain and the hand of history

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