Post by Chris Weston Post by Mike Holmans
In Britain, the Liberal Party was always a party of the Left, albeit
centre-left rather than Trotskyist, and despite the efforts of certain
social democrats when the Liberals and SDP merged, the Liberal
Democrats remain a centre-left party. That the party which split from
us in the early 20th century and is now in government has zigzagged
from far left to centre-right is not exactly our fault.
Merry Christmas, Mike.
I assume you mean 'the party that the SDP split from'. Assuming this means
that you are a relic of the SDP rather than a consistent Liberal, perhaps
staying in the party would have provided you with the opportunity to help
steer the party when it undertook the responsibility of Government, rather
than choosing the rather comfortable path of eternal opposition?
Well, if you make one wrong assumption, then you are quite likely to
make even more on the back of it. Accusing me of ever having been a
member of the David Owen Fan Club Party is worse than anything that
Liar has ever flung at me, and I demand an immediate, grovelling
apology or I shall march to the sound of gunfire and then go back to
your constituency and prepare you for slaughter. (Cue choruses of
"I'll be buggered if I vote Liberal" and "Vote Liberal or we'll shoot
your dog".) A Guerre, Penhaligons!
The split I was referring to was the one a hundred years ago, when the
Labour Party split off from the Liberal Party. Of course, many of the
MPs who "defected" had really only been using the Liberal Party as a
vehicle until a Labour Party could get itself organised - and it's not
as though the split was acrimonious, since we didn't stand against
Labour candidates (such arrangements were much more common back then
than they are now). It was more a difference of opinion about tactics
and how far you could go how fast, and that even though we passed the
revolutionary 1906 Trade Union Act, the TUC didn't trust hereditary
members of the House of Lords to be on their side, even if they had
been up till then, and preferred people of their own choosing (which
seems fair enough to me).
Still, though it may fall to the Labour Party to preside over the
recovery of the Ashes, only the Liberal Democrats have the vision to
carry through the long-term policies which will lead to us retaining
them, possibly in perpetuity or until we lose an election. So vote Lib
Dem in 2009, if not before.