I don’t want to start this post by rounding on the Liberal Democrats, as a Lib Dem voter. Enough of that has been done in the media already.
But, as a Lib Dem voter, I can’t see how I can start a post about our-new-boys-in-the-cabinet any other way.
As the old deflated-balloon joke goes, you’ve let me down, but worst of all, you’ve let yourselves down.
Long gone are the days when ideology counted for anything in politics, but at least with the ‘third party’, you felt like you were really voting for someone that stood for something, someone who kept traditional (though highly watered down) left-wing values close to their policies, while having the country’s interests at heart.
So, feeling that your vote had gone to a worthy cause rather than being ‘wasted’ as many blue supporters would have had you believe, you can’t help but feel the tiniest bit aggrieved when your champions of liberal politics form a coalition with the party who are, on paper, their binary opposites.
It seems Labour had it right five years ago – a vote for the Lib Dems really was a vote for the Tories.
Anyway, I digress.
I should really be exceptionally pleased that this new Con-Dem (Nation?) government has been formed, as this perhaps is the only way that the Lib Dems could ever be able to begin enforcing their manifesto at the main table. Which is what this post is supposed to be about.
A rethink of the voting system has been agreed; the £10,000 Income Tax threshold has been enforced; and the ID cards are going to be taxed (well, OK, I’ll give that one to the Conservatives too).
But there is one new development that should have all journalism trainees sitting up to take notice. The paper is still wet on our court reporting exam papers, but the law is already set to change.
First announced as a policy at a Lib Dem conference in 2006, anonymity for defendants in rape cases was last week included in the programme for the new government.
This update to the Sexual Offences Act, aside from irking the Fawcett followers, is my first experience of how quickly and easily the law affecting journalism can change, and really emphasises the need to stay on top of the legal issues involved in the job. Having spoken to a host of seasoned editors, trying to get ahead in an overly-saturated trainee market means staying on top of the law and its peculiarities.
Of course, McNae’s should be the first point of call, but with a growing No Win No Fee culture, it is imperative to keep a focused ear to the ground, and stay on top of all changes as and when they happen, so as not to be, embarrassingly and expensively, caught out.