It would appear that Labour are progressive. Lib Dems less so and the Conservatives not at all.
Kennedy felt so strongly about progressive wossname that he very nearly summoned the courage to vote against the coalition, but then decided to not vote at all. That'll show 'em.
I've got a question, what the hell does progressive actually mean? Let's have a look at the definition on dictionary.com, shall we?
making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.
Well, that clears that up. See you next time.
Oh, no hang on. That doesn't clear it up at all.
Making progress towards better conditions. For whom? In what area? Employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas. Hmmmmm.
It's a bit wishy-washy, a bit vague, isn't it? I suppose I can only approach it from my point of view, you could well have a different perspective on what constitutes better conditions and enlightenment and liberalism.
What would constitute better conditions and enlightenment and liberalism for me?
For a start the rolling back of the interference of the State in my life would be nice. I'd like to see the ID card scheme scrapped and would love to see the database that went with it loaded up onto a rocket and fired into the sun. That would be an improvement in conditions for me and seems a good deal more liberal than that which went before it.
I wonder if we'll ever have a government that will do that? What? We already do? But that can't be true because Kennedy and Labour are telling me that this government is not progressive. My, I'm getting confused.
Have I misunderstood the meaning of the word liberal?
(often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
Oh, for crying out loud, we're just going round in circles here. What's this?
favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
Well, reading the second section of the definition of liberal, it would seem to me that the last Labour government (please, God, let it be the actual last Labour government we ever see) were not at all liberal, not at all progressive. In fact I would state that they were the antithesis of progressive and liberal, they were regressive and illiberal. They took freedoms away from us and subjected us to more control. That's not progressive or liberal at all.
Kennedy says in his Observer article:
Like many others I was keen to explore the possibilities of a so-called "progressive coalition", despite all the obvious difficulties and drawbacks.
Like the complete failure of the Labour party to safeguard our liberties, indeed they attacked them and removed them at every opportunity. I would have thought that what with you being the former leader of a party with the word 'Liberal' in their title that you would have seen them as a anathema to your ideals. Or is that you aren't really that Liberal?
Don't bother answering that one, I know it already. Numerous conversations with Lib Dem members where I tried to work out the common ground between the Libertarians and Lib Dems have shown me that there is precious little common ground. Liberty to them seems to mean liberty to make decisions about what everyone should be doing and how they should do it, with lots of talk about people not getting left behind.
Oh dear, I'm approaching this from the wrong perspective aren't I? The only thing they want to progress to is a situation where they are in charge and telling us what to do, rather than just standing behind the Tories going 'yeah!' when they tell us what to do. That's what they mean by progressive, isn't it? Getting from here to there.
So for the next three, four, five years we're going to have this argument about centre left vs. centre right, and we're going to hear the word 'progressive' spat out from the Labour benches, from the Mirror and the Groan and the left wing blogosphere and twatterfeeds.
Progressive will become the new Nazi-Racist-Bigot, it'll cease to have any meaning as Labour and the Lib Dems strive to show that they are totally different from the Conservatives without actually being significantly different. The Milibands and Balls will claim to be the progressive candidates for the leadership of a progressive party in this new era of progressive politics.
One thing is for sure, they're all the same, they will demand our compelte obedience and adherence to their 'vision' (God I hate that word) and total submission to their will.