Saturday, 19 April 2014

LibDems' USP lost among the electioneering

Well, that didn't last long. We had a favourable leader in the Indy a week or so ago, and the same paper correctly defined Jeremy Browne as a "maverick" Liberal Democrat (though only in the print edition, I notice) when other media were describing him as "top" or "prominent". However, we were back to the usual "what are the Lib Dems for?" in Ian Birrell's article Sunday before last.

This was followed by a letter in the daily paper from a David Ashton of Sheringham, who quotes disparaging remarks about the Liberals from HG Wells "The New Machiavelli".  What Mr Ashton fails to point out is that the book was a novel and that the fictional narrator's views were rather different from Wells's own.

Thank goodness for the New Statesman (something I never thought I'd write). It is giving a regular spot to Liberal Democrat blogger Richard Morris. I wonder if the Staggers has realised, what Harriet Harman and her gang have not, that if Labour is to have a sniff of power next year, it needs Liberal Democrats to do well in seats where LDs are challengers and Labour is lying third?

Anyway, Richard Morris pointed out in his article last week that the party's official policy remains more progressive than that of the coalition and certainly more than that of the increasingly "dry" Conservatives.

As for Ian Birrell's assertion that four years ago the Liberal Democrat party was deliberately modelling itself on the Free Democrats, my memory of that time and before was the opposite: that old hands in the party saw the decline of the FDP as a dreadful warning. A party which saw its role purely as king-making, centred on the personality of a particular individual, was sure to come to grief eventually.

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