by Stephen Tall on May 8, 2011
So many good blog-posts from Lib Dems this past weekend — bad news makes for a much better quality of introspection than victory, it seems. Here are the top
six seven posts (is that a baker’s half-dozen?) I think are well worth reading:
Time for the Lib Dems to ‘Man up’ (Steven Gauge): damn straight. And this, by the way, is a quite genius line:
Cleggmania was a little bit bonkers and its current hysterical replacement is much the same; different sides of the same bankrupt currency.
The progressive minority (Nick Thornsby): an eloquently reasoned post I wish I’d written. Here’s the killer para:
There is only one of the big three parties in Britain representing progressive, liberal and radical values: the Liberal Democrats. Thursday showed once again that we now represent the views and values of about a fifth of the British people – the progressive minority.
Crawling from the wreckage (James Graham): there are many reasons to be glad for the end of the referendum campaign — James’s return to blogging is one of them. Especially worth noting his spot-on analysis of Labour’s dismal failure since the election:
A lot of Labour politicians are hellbent on a strategy that is about destroying the Lib Dems, even if it means effectively letting Cameron off the hook. There’s no getting away from the fact that the Lib Dems are now seriously weakened, but what has that gained Labour? There is no sign of us returning to a two-party system; look at Scotland. Labour let the Tories win the popular vote in England, which is an absolutely extraordinary failure. Even at the Lib Dems’ nadir, one in four people just voted for a third-party candidate.
Where next for the Liberal Democrats? (Mark Valladares): as sane as ever. All liberals should take note of this piece of advice in particular:
Talk to people about things that matter to them. First though, find out what those things are. Sadly, they don’t include interns, Lords reform or social mobility. They do include tax, crime, health and immigration.
Another of those ‘where did it all go wrong’ blogposts (Lorna Spencely): some great stories here, and a sort-of hopeful conclusion:
There have always been No campaigns, blocking progress in the interests of those who benefit from the status quo. I suspect it will take a long, long time now. But we can’t go on like this, with governments elected by smaller and smaller percentages of the population, with less and less of a mandate, and a political system that alienates more and more people. One day. One day.
The myth of Lib Dem ‘betrayal’ (Evan Harris): I may not always agree with him, but Evan has been an almost-perfect critic of the Coalition, rightly slamming the lefty Guardianista re-writing of last May’s history while offering substantive reforms:
There is no new reason why the coalition will not go the full distance. As long as we learn from our mistakes, and improve our processes to block Tory plans that are not in the coalition agreement, there is no reason why we should not deliver what we agreed in the coalition programme and earn respect for so doing.
David Cameron has blown his chance to realign British politics for good (Julian Astle): a fascinating and important post explaining how David Cameron swapped stategy for tactics, winning last Thursday’s battle and losing his chance to win the war for liberal conservatism, and of grabbing a real ‘Clause IV’ moment of lasting significance:
There was a point, before opinions hardened, when the Prime Minister could actually have embraced the Alternative Vote, as Michael Gove, his modernising Education Secretary, wanted to do. All that would have been required was for him to challenge the pessimistic and self-fulfilling assumption that underpins his party’s opposition to AV – that Conservatives can never attract the second preference votes of other parties’ supporters. Had he done so, he could have finished what he began when he put the Coalition together and initiated a significant realignment of British politics, attracting support not only from Ukip supporters to his Right, but from Liberal Democrats to his Left. It would have been an audacious, “Clause Four” type move which would have diminished, perhaps even removed, the existential threat to the Conservative Party posed by Britain’s non-Tory majority. Instead, he chose to view the existing dividing lines as unchangeable, ensuring that his party’s “us against the world” mentality endures, and endures for good reason.