Both are liberally scattered with the hurrah words "progressive" and "radical". I have never been quite sure what the former means, but from what I have seen on Liberal Left so far, there is nothing radical about it. It seems dedicated precisely to avoiding hard questions.
You can explore the group's website for yourself, but take this quotation form the Guardian article. Speaking of one of the group's leading figures, the party's former policy director Richard Grayson, he says:
Asked to pinpoint the three strongest policy differences that Liberal Left had with the coalition, he said the deficit, tuition fees and the role of city academies in education.On the deficit the questions radical should be asking are whether it is moral to leave an ever-growing debt for out children and whether they should be so committed to economic arrangements that leave them having permanently to placate the very people they despise most - international financiers.
On tuition fees they should be asking whether it is really a priority - let alone such a high priority - to fund not particularly academic middle-class youngsters to spend three years at university when our education system and society in general are already so stacked against the working class. It is also possible to ask whether our pile it high, sell it cheap of higher education now gives many graduates the career or educational advantages it claims it does.
And on education, we see more and more areas of our national life dominated by the products of private schools (even sport and pop music). Meanwhile access to the good schools in the state sector is rationed by parents' ability to afford the higher house prices in the streets that surround them. Moaning about city academies really does not cut it if you call yourself a radical. Where is the anger?
Richard is right to say there is a long tradition of dissent inside the Liberal Democrats and that:
"We have never been a democratic centralist party in which the whole party has to abide by a conference decision for ever more."So he and his allies have every right to form a group, even if I would rather we all put more effort into deciding what the Liberal Democrats believe before we dedicated ourselves to dissenting from it.
But it would have been better if those who cannot stomach a coalition with the Tories had gone to the special conference that endorsed it and argued their case at the time.
Because Richard is not wholly accurate when he says the Lib Dems never said that Labour's spending should be reduced. As I recently discussed, the party committed itself to tax cuts rather than further increases in public spending as long ago as its 2008 autumn conference.
And really this was the issue that was at stake in our last leadership contest - a contest in which one of Liberal Left's leading lights told us that she would trust Nick Clegg with her life.
I am all for radicalism in the Liberal Democrats, but we should not confuse it with nostalgia for the Labourism of 5 or 10 or 20 years ago.