I admit to some surprise at the nature of this week's mea culpa over tuition fees. It seems like an odd time to choose to do so as, whilst it fits a domestic Party schedule, it doesn't necessarily come at an early enough point for public opinion.
That said, many activists of my acquaintance were consistently of the view that it was the breaking of the pledge that was wrong, rather than the pledge itself. The policy was, after all, costed, and had Liberal Democrats formed a government, we might well have been able to honour that pledge.
On reflection, it would appear, however, that when making the pledge, no consideration was made of the fact that we might be the junior partner in a coalition subsequently, and thus unable to have confidence that our pledge was deliverable.
But an apology is a good thing. At least, I think it is...
However, what good is an apology without follow up? As I have noted previously, we campaigned for a new type of politics, one that most Liberal Democrat activists believed in, whereby you treated the public like adults, and hoped that they would respond.
In government, we haven't always been true to that. Not as unfaithful as our opponents would have you believe, but we've 'played the game'. I will admit that I am uncomfortable with that. So, hopefully, this is a fresh start for Liberal Democrats in power, with a more open dialogue. It takes two, or more, to make this work, however. The media fixation on conflict and discord plus the cynicism of politicians, serve to encourage a reversion to spin and bluster.
It will not be an easy road back for the Party, but given that the longest journey starts with a single step, it would be nice if we started rebuilding our credibility with the British public this week.