For political columnists it is easy to be polemical in extreme ways, both
from right and left. They can display the prejucides of their own sides and both
right and left like to gang up on the LibDems as a shared joke. It's hard to be
a punchy opinion former if, as a LibDem tends to, one says 'on the one hand, on
the other hand - even if that it where the truth may lie ... If we have a fault
it is that we are not brave enough about making striking announcements. We don't
come up with enough to make journalists and other editors interested. I wish the
party had more people like Norman Baker who's very good at that. perhaps we are
too 'nice' or just too wary of the press. Our neglect is mainly the media's
fault, but we shouldn;t moan about it, we should be more pro-active.
Is he right? I think he makes some fair points but misses the main one. Newspapers employ columnists who will either provoke and be controversial or because they are supposed to give some insiht into a particular issue. They also fly with the political wind. It's no coincidence that many newspapers - even centre left papers like The Guardian and The Independent - are giving more space to right of centre polemicists and analysts because the Conservatives are doing relatively well and are beginning to look as if they could win the next election. The same thing happened to Labour in the mid 1990s. The LibDems don't get much of a look-in because they are not only not making political headway, they are regressing. Why, in those circumstances, would a newspaper take on a LibDem columnist?
But lets' imagine that you were a newspaper columnist. Who, from the LibDems (and I don't mean MPs or Peers) would you consider offering a column to?