So, being a Liberal Democrat isn't as easy as it used to be. That much, at least, is clear.
I joined the party in March 2010, shortly before the most momentous year in its 22-year history.
You remember: The general election , the Leaders' Debates...I agree with Nick...a hung parliament...urgent talks...a full, comprehensive coalition agreement...the increase in tuition fees...the lost AV referendum...and that's just for starters.
Over recent days, as we all surely know unless you've spent some time on another planet, we've had another occurance to add to the list.
David Cameron's abject failure to do anything other than totally isolate Britain in the European Union has seen bucket loads of commentary, what surely must be thousands of tweets, praise from the usual quarters (i.e. the right-wing press and the PM's right-wing backbenchers), and has raised the ire-to put it at its politest-of we Lib Dems.
Some within the Liberal Democrats have called for Vince Cable to resign (over him making clear Cameron's 'achievement' was a bad thing for Britain), calls for Nick Clegg to consider his leadership, with some even mooting the idea that now might be a good idea for this whole Coalition to whither and die on the vine of Euroscepticism.
I believe such calls should be strongly ignored and argued against...and here's why:
Despite all the compromise, the disagreements and, from some quarters, the disappointment of being in Coalition with our old enemies, we continue to be improving people's lives day in and day out (whether or not they and, indeed, we know we're doing it)
From the Pupil Premium, to taking the poorest paid people out of paying income tax altogether, to re-linking pensions to earnings, to taking action to help do our bit to try and reduce carbon emissions and stopping any plans to replace Trident (the anti-nuclear deterrent) this government-thanks to Lib Dem influence-is really getting things done.
Yes, of course, there's more to do.
Much more to ensure this nation becomes fairer, greener and more internationalist.
But calls for us to leave the Coalition, when times get tough, are just not helpful.
We need to be in there, fighting for socially liberal principles, arguing our case, defeating (when we have to) the arguments put forward by the right-wing of the Tory party.
Secondly, we need to be shouting from the roof-tops about the victories we are achieving for the people of this country. Victories that would never have happened under a minority or majority Tory administration.
I'm sure that we'll secure many more good things over the next three or so years and that we'll go into the 2015 General Election in a robust and positive fashion.
This is no time to lose our nerve. Liberal Democrats are needed in Government more now than ever before.Suggest a correction