December 20, 2005


Kennedy is a busted flush, but there is no credible successor (Alice Thomson, 20/12/2005, Daily Telegraph)

The Liberal Democrats so nearly made it. Their image of sandals, knitted jumpers, and lentils belied their potential. The Lib Dems understood the middle way while Tony Blair was still courting Cherie and David Cameron was smoking his first cigarette behind the fives courts. They were rational, reasonable, non-ideological: everything that Mr Blair and Mr Cameron have now taken to their hearts. They were astonishingly adept as constituency MPs and knew how to woo voters from Aberdeenshire to Yeovil.

Many of their ideas are only just being adopted by the other two parties. They have always talked about the environment, their position on the war in Iraq now looks far-sighted and they were the first to understand the power of localism.

But they have blown it - not once but twice. Fifteen years ago, they had their first chance, a once-in-a-century opportunity to overtake the Labour Party and become the real opposition. But they never capitalised on Labour s donkey jacket moment. Then, amazingly, they were given another chance when the Conservative Party started to disintegrate.

Except that the Third Way isn't about merely splitting the differences between Left and Right and to have genuine appeal it has to be combined with social conservatism/religiosity and, in Europe at least, more than a little nationalism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 7:30 AM
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