The fiasco over the Lib Dem stance on the Tories EU referendum motion today was so clearly signposted, so easily avoided, so obviously could have been dealt with and perhaps most importantly was so widely challenged from withing the party that you have to question the intelligence and integrity of the party for it's decision, and in particular Nick Clegg has so mortally wounded his own standing that he will always find it hard to escape the criticism of this folly.
Sadly though, this policy was also supported during the leadership election so Chris Huhne would not have done anything differently from Nick Clegg. The two former MEPs ensured the party as a whole never got to make a choice in this issue. Perhaps this too highlights a weakness in both candidates who stood.
The debacle of three front bench Lib Dem MP's resigning, a number of backbench Lib Dem revolting against a three line whip, and almost universal criticism of the Lib Dems today was totally avoidable. Clegg could have allowed a free vote on the issue. He could have let the Lib Dem stick to the party's own manifesto pledge, or he could simply have told the party to vote against. But the colossal incompetence of ordering the party not to vote, to sit on their hands, to take part on a debate and not vote actually leads any sane voter to ask "What is the point of an MP who does not vote ?"
Everyone could see that this was going to happen, it didn't simply occur without warning, it actually reminded me of this clip from the film Austin Powers.
At the risk of repeating myself, today did not have to happen. It was all so easily avoided. Not a day that will fill anyone with pride in the Lib Dems.