12/09/2018

The Liberal Democrats' Big Opportunity


UK politics has become a very unpredictable place these last few years but it strikes me that there is a big opportunity now for the Liberal Democrats to step up and provide what a still large number of people in the country want- a middle ground political party. Otherwise who are we going to vote for at the next General Election? The Conservative’s free market and austerity package or Labour’s Seventies throwback unaffordable socialism? Neither appeal to many and those with slightly long memories may recall when there was an alternative to the big two. In a post Brexit landscape there will a big gap for there to be again. 



For a long time people complained that there was little difference between the main parties but that is not the case now. Both Tories and Labour share a dogged determination to cling to ideals that are both proven not to work. Distant government and Austerity failed. High spending and Taxation failed. Neither will solve the problems we might have going it alone without the EU or the United States for economic protection. The Lib Dems have actually gained something from Brexit partly by opposing it – giving them some purpose- and partly because the mess it’s created means everyone’s forgotten their part in propping up David Cameron’s government. Maybe for the Lib Dems there’s some guilt in their anti Brexit stance? Anyway assuming Brexit happens – and even though I voted Remain I see no scenario where it can be back tracked on now- what kind of party might be best equipped to sail those unpredictable waters?

If they can step forward with some sensible, achievable and fundable route forward then the Lib Dems might start to recover electorally from recent disasters. They did have 58 MPs not that long ago and must have believed that would be a platform from which they could build further. The mistake in giving carte blanche to a Tory government that fobbed us off with referenda on the one hand while cutting budgets for services on the other was a mis-step that cost them dearly. A new political plan post Brexit might / could win them much of what they lost back and next time they should be more careful with their support for whichever party forms the government.

More than any time now we need a check on either of the big two lest they make a bad situation worse. All we seem to hear from Labour is hugely generous hand outs that will make even less financial sense in the post Brexit economy. The Conservatives seem to be handling the whole thing in a blasé manner as if they haven’t grasped the magnitude of what they are meant to be doing. Can they really be trusted to run the country afterwards?

Some commentators are calling for a totally new centre ground party but really there is already one there! By the next general election campaign, the Lib Dems need to have come up with a strategy and policies that recognise the changed political and economic landscape. Which, let face it, is what political parties are supposed to do. If they can navigate away from the extremes of both Left and Right then they might find increasing numbers of people will vote for them again because it simpply makes more sense than the alternative extremes. Personally I am waiting for them to deliver something otherwise there will be nobody for me to vote for.




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