lördag 28 juni 2008

LIberal Democrate wash-out at Henley

Sadly, the Henley by-election result shows how little impact the Liberal Democrats have had over the past ten years, despite the fact that they have had more parliamentary strength than at any time since the end of World War Two.

It gives me no pleasure to say this. On the contrary, I find it dismaying. There was a time when Liberalism was a distinct political ideology, with a particular and unique analysis of the workings of the economy. Its policies were far from being a judicious mixture of the policies of the Labour and Conservative parties.

Given the British first-past-the-post electoral system, it is inevitably difficult for a third party to make an impression on the political system, but the failure of the Conservative government in the 1990s put the Liberal Democrats back on the map, whilst the evident contemporary failure of New Labour has revealed the project as literally bankrupt, leaving the way open for the Liberals. But whilst the way has been opened, the Liberals have not moved in to occupy the space.

Why this has not happened is an interesting question that it would take too long to answer, but paucity of ideas seems to lie at the root of the problem.

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