Articles

Which way now for Clegg and co?

In News on May 4, 2015 by dadge

I’ve put my money on there being another ConDemNation government. It would seem a bit odd, the LibDems switching horses after May 7th, since they’ve achieved a seemingly excellent working relationship with the Tories for 5 years, but in theory they are supposed to be politically equidistant between Con and Lab, and many of their supporters have always considered themselves centre-left. Of course the latter are those voters who have deserted them now, and if the LibDems get back into bed with the Tories they’ll probably be lost for ever.

So this is a key moment for the LibDems. Do they see themselves now as a centre-right party, and they’re going to rebuild on that basis? Is that possible? Is it wise? Is it conceding the centre-left to Labour? (in British terms – Labour obviously isn’t really a socialist party anymore)

The second option to rebuild is to somehow go back to the way things were, learn from the mistake, such as it was, of the ConDemNation, and eschew coalitions. WIth an eye to the future and any possible introduction of PR, this would the most sensible choice; it would be a sad irony to turn the party into a narrow libertarian faction (a la FDP?) and thereby forgo the great success that PR always promised.

Switching to supporting Labour is potentially very risky. Their role in government might be quite weak – certainly weaker than it has been with the Tories – and hardly worth the entry fee. They’ve lost their left-leaning supporters, and if they lose their right-leaning supporters as well, they’ll become the party with more MPs than electors. Or is the gamble that people will gradually get used to the coalition idea and become as pragmatic as they are?

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