September 11, 2009

IT IS THE ANGLOSPHERE AFTER ALL....:

The biggest problem for the Liberal Democrats is illiberal Britain (Martin Kettle, 9/11/09, guardian.co.uk)

So why are the Lib Dems not doing better? The first answer can be put in two words: David and Cameron. Cameron's election as Tory leader in late 2005 was a watershed for the Lib Dems. Before Cameron – BC – they were most voters' default second choice. After Dave – AD – they weren't. A liberal Tory leader – and Cameron is, whatever anyone says – has stopped the long-familiar Tory-to-Lib Dem swing vote in its tracks.

The second answer, though, is that the Lib Dems have become part of the establishment. For decades they have prospered as the anti-politics party, running against the system, apostles of new politics. Now, particularly after the expenses scandal, they have woken up to discover that they are seen as part of the problem. The cosy two-party system is suddenly the cosy three-party system, and the Lib Dems are a cosy part of it. Meanwhile, other small parties have seized the ground the Lib Dems once thought to rule unchallenged. If you want to vote against the establishment, you can now vote Green or Red or Ukip or even BNP. Look at Norwich North or the European elections. Doubtless it's all very unfair. But it's also true.

However the third answer is that Britain may not, after all, be as liberal a society as many of us would like, and sometimes pretend. I don't think there is any doubt that the Lib Dems stand for liberal values and that the voters understand this. It is silly to pretend that Nick Clegg is in any significant way more or less liberal than Ming Campbell, Charles Kennedy or any of their predecessors. The truth is simply that most Tory and Labour voters are not instinctively liberals.


...where an Afro-Muslim Socialist agent of change is indistinguishable from a petro-fascist Christianist.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2009 6:54 AM
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