Interesting couple of articles that illustrate the challenge ahead in today’s politics following the 2015 General Election. A Threat for Labour that conversely has presented an opportunity for the Liberal Democrats.
1 The Practical Guide to Centre Left schisms
2 The strange death of Labour Britain has a worrying precedent
Both articles explain how a party can fall far from grace in a short time. The Liberals in the Former and potentially Labour in the latter.
Despite the drubbing in the 2015 election the Liberal Democrats are on fire and rejuvenated. How is this possible?? To understand this you need to understand the context of British Politics today.
Society has changed beyond recognition over the last twenty years and the pace of change is faster and more dynamic than the ability of political parties to change.
The fragmentation of politics has become very pronounced where once it was a simple left and right. The big two parties of the modern era are but shadows of their former selves, leaving the ground open for other parties and for single issue campaign groups.
This isn’t just being felt by Politics. The Internet and technological changes are allowing people to interact in unimaginable ways just 10 years ago. The media faces some of the biggest challenges, more often than not having to reinvent themselves or die.
Household institutions across the board are being similarly tested. Many who stay true to what they were and carry on like they always have, have withered and died in the face of upstart competition that has adapted to today’s consumers.
The most effective and successful party in the modern arena will be the one best able to adapt and work with the natural flow and not stick to old habits that mean they are working across the public grain.
A century ago, the Liberals fragmented when they couldn’t adapt quick enough to the changes in society. Changes in society initiated by the industrial revolution and the Victorian era, fanned by the flames of the Great War and trouble in Ireland, through to the labour movement and votes for Women, were all unprecedented. Yet the Liberals changed little, failed to adapt and ultimately perished as a party of government.
Many commentators lampooned the Lib Dems immediately after the election, claiming that the Liberal Democrats had suffered a similar fate to their Liberal predecessors, destined for obscurity for a generation of more.
However, this overly simplistic narrative forgets that politics is driven by the society of the day, the effects of which can not be immediately felt or seen.
So quite perversely, some might say, the Liberal Democrats may now be in the best place to make changes and adapt their party the quickest to today’s society.
Britain at its core is a Liberal Country
Britain at its core is a Liberal Country that has enshrined fairness and freedom in its values for generations. A recent poll by YouGov shows just how much the middle ground of politics has opened up for the Lib Dems. British values are generally Liberal values. Yet the electorate have for decades been presented by a simplistic choice of left and right when really most people are in the centre, in the same space that they believe the Lib Dems to exist.
Today’s society believes in a less over bearing state, individual freedom and choice, fairness and compassion, tolerance etc. These are all Liberal values.
Liberals believe in individual freedom, a less interfering or oppressive state, fairness for all – empowering everybody to be the best they can be, whilst ensuring this is applied to everybody… not just the many and most definitely not just a lucky few.
Liberalism needs reuniting. Liberalism needs reiterating and explaining.
The Lib Dems through their enforced rebirth now have a golden opportunity to win over hearts and minds of the British Electorate. No small task but recent by-election wins and the rapid surge in membership and shown the field is open for the Lib Dems to permanently break the mold of British Politics. Lib Dems across the country now have new hope. Hope that they must enshrine through the country.