Lib Dems - Abiding by the will of the people?

In a comment on his blog regarding which party the Liberal Democrats might support if there is a hung parliament after the next Westminster elections Peter Black says:

Liberal Democrats have said that they will abide with the will of the British people *if* there should be a hung Parliament, in deciding what our role in it will be

This strikes me as an odd, new management speak, gobbledygook phrase, which sounds good but means nothing!

The term abide is an odd one for a party with Democrat in its name to use. Abide means to live with in the sense of put up with something unpleasant or to accept through gritted teeth. For the Liberal Democrats to say that they will abide with the will of the British people is akin to them saying that they will look at the election result as one of the people have spoken – the bastards!

If there is a hung parliament, how will the Liberal Democrats decide what the will of the British people is? Will they ask a focus group? Will they ask a polling company? Will they go on the number of seats won or the number of votes cast? (If there is a hung parliament, there is a fair chance that Labour will have the most seats but that the Conservatives will have the most votes.)

Would a hung parliament mean that the people have rejected the outgoing Labour Government or that they have refused to endorse a change to a Conservative Government?

Perhaps the best interpretation of the Liberal Democrats wily words is we don't know - depends what we are offered after the event; not a good election slogan, perhaps, but at least an honest one, and one which is more straight forward than a sound bite that means that they can spin their choice, either way, as the cast iron guarantee given before the event.


  1. According to Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems will ally with the party which has the majority vote at the election.
    That's what he means.

  2. If that is what he means, Alan, then that is precisely what he would have said in a clear and straight forward way. The reason for using a woolly phrase lacking intellectual acuity is in order to deceive before the election and spin after it.

  3. All's fair in Love and War. Unfortunately British politics favours the latter.
    Whatever happened to transparency and straight talking?

  4. abide by sth phrasal verb
    phrasal verb
    to accept or obey an agreement, decision or rule

  5. It raises the - should politicians and parties simply relfect what the majority of the voters want or should they take the line thta they should do what they believe is right. If "to be popular and in power" is the driving force then clearly the former will hold sway - but otherwise they should do the latter (assuming that is they have looked at the issues in question and have the ability to form any views atall !)