Quite enjoyed this piece from Richard Seymour. A welcome antidote to the Graun's recent desperate attempts to present the Lib Dems as being halfway credible.
You write off the Lib Dems at your peril, warned Tim Farron MP. And the nation, in a collective gesture, said "ooh, I'm so scared". But it isn't just the Liberal Democrat president who thinks the party is onto a winner. Nick Clegg, in his conference speech last September, reassured the faithful that there was a future for the party, not "as the third party, but as one of three parties of government".http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... t-election
Is it really plausible that the Liberals will ever be in government again? At present, they are on a par with Ukip in terms of popular support. Since they didn't win the fight on proportional representation – partly because they signed up to a policy that wasn't proportional representation – this will work out badly for them in terms of seats. They may be left with no more seats in the next parliament than the wedge of Northern Irish parties that failing governments turn to when they need to win key votes.
So where is the peril in writing off the Liberals? Farron reminds us of the unique selling point of the Liberals, their being the historic party of vacillation. The Liberals, he says, "are the only party able to deliver both a strong economy and a fair society." In practice, what this means is delivering welfare cuts, while opposing the Tories demonology about "shirkers" that goes with it. Or, if you like, solving the crisis of old age care by cutting the winter fuel allowance. Above all, promising to abolish tuition fees, then tripling them while arrogantly telling students to "grow up", then apologising for having made the promise to abolish them in the first place. But even if there was a whisper of substance in the Liberal commitment to a "fair society", their complicity in austerity is destroying the niche they have attempted to occupy as "honest brokers" between two unpalatable alternatives. The middle ground is being destroyed.