“The Lib Dems are a Goldilocks party or they are nothing”

by Stephen Tall on April 14, 2014

That’s the title of my column in today’s Times. The link’s here, but sorry, it’s paywalled. However, there’s a snippet below…

2014-04-14 10.48.41

 

The argument will be familiar to those who’ve read my review of Jeremy Browne’s new book, Race Plan.

While I’m sympathetic to his freedom-loving liberal outlook, he hasn’t yet persuaded me either of the specific free market reforms he proposes, nor that his ideological purity is a viable election-winning strategy:

Team Clegg’s strategy is clear: for the Lib Dems to be seen as a “well-defined moderating centrist party”. It doesn’t excite party activists, who would like nothing better than to campaign as radical liberals. But in reality it’s because we are reckoned to be the fair-minded, Goldilocks party (not too hot, not too cold) that people vote for us.

If the Lib Dems are to continue as a party of government, there will be no alternative but to do a deal next year either with the right-leaning Tories or left-leaning Labour. We’ll fight 2015 from the moderate centre because there’s no other position from which we can credibly fight it.