Monday, 20 September 2010

Liberal Democracy

I still find it incredibly difficult to see how the LibDem's can achieve anything approaching their 23% general election poll ratings anytime soon. But if a third of that total were disaffected Labour voters now returning to the fold, good riddance - 'shifting sands' they may be, but the LibDem's hold no debts.

Mary Ann Sieghart, writing in today's Independent, suggests that everything necessary is already in place and that time - as with broken bones - will heal everything.

It may need some help. Beyond doubt now is Nick Clegg's feeling that being a short-term protest party for the left is no longer viable. If you didn't like the Iraq war or ID cards or 42-day detention without trial, or the loss of civil liberties or too many other top-down authoritarian bullying initiatives to mention here, then why did you vote Labour?

Certainly, the tone from the left has begun to change. Both Polly Toynbee and Jackie Ashley, after months of ill thought out visceral hatred towards the 'traitorous' LibDems (following years of cosying up we note), have begun to recognise that coalition government means compromise and co-operation, not ideologically-driven utopianism. That way only hatred lies - and we've had thirteen years of that.

Perhaps we'll start to hear the backstory - the principles behind the 'orange book' or the surging tide of bottom-up localism espoused throughout this party. The deeply held priciples of personal liberty, international co-operation and 'fairness' that pervades all Liberal Democrat policies in the public sector.

The left of course, would have us believe that before the 1997 ascendancy of New Labour, there were no schools, hospitals or welfare. Just broken people floating around in dirt, poverty and injustice. All provided by Margaret Thatcher and the wicked Tories.

Funny how they won four elections in a row and 18 years in government then...