The Thick of It


Thursday, September 01, 2011

A Lib Dem future?

Ed Miliband and many in the Labour Party still feel that an olive branch to disaffected Lib Dems is a path back to redemption. There are votes to be had at the Lib Dem's expense though I doubt these will be sufficient. Recent Guardian/ICM polling shows that Labour and the Tories are neck and neck. Something else needs to give Labour the poll surge it needs to stand a chance at the next election.

Tories on the right will be keen to drive open divisions in the coalition as it still rankles with them that they don't rule alone. 

The Lib Dems claim they are exerting a moderating influence on the Tories. The polls suggest people think otherwise. 

Lord Adonis told that he wants Labour and the lefty Lib Dems to be closer aligned. Despite not fitting in with their Orange Book colleagues, these MPs and supporters find it difficult to reconcile their differences with Labour, either because they hold a 1980s grudge or because they feel that Labour in government was too authoritarian. 

I can't envisage any significant shifts in the party political boundaries in the near future. The Tories are keen to show that their tough medicine will help the country in the long term and want to win and govern alone at the next election. The Labour Party needs to be attractive enough to win votes from Tory voters in addition to the demotivated on the left. The Lib Dems are desperately trying to hold their nerve in government in the hope that people thank them in the end. As Rafael Behr points out, Nick Clegg "can't be ignored." Labour and the Tories hope voters think otherwise and that still seems likely.

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