Letter  No 12a by Mike Allott:  back to directory

10 March 2004


Reality check for the Lib Dems

You welcome the public spending proposals of the Liberal Democrats and praise in particular their Treasury spokesman, Dr Vincent Cable, for making “real progress in reconciling his party’s fiscal stance with the real world” (leading article, March 5).

If this recognition of economic reality is now shared by their party faithful, it removes the only remaining political difference between new Labourism and Lib Demism. Both have almost identical values, expressed in their party constitutions. Both have roots in working-class liberalism. And both emerged, rebranded, as a result of the indirect influence of Roy Jenkins’s vision of social democracy.

I am a Labour Party member living in a constituency (Romsey) which in effect will choose between a Lib Dem or a Tory. In the South East there are many similar constituencies. Yet many Labour members would never vote Lib Dem. And there are Labour Party organisers who still insist on standing no-hoper candidates.

Because the ideological affinities between Labour and the Lib Dems are firmly established, and because there is now an agreement on the economics, is it not time for all “social democrats” to take full control of the centre ground? Yours faithfully,

Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh