Thursday, October 27, 2016

John Harris on the likely Liberal Democrat revival

John Harris is a political commentator without equal, as he proved when he wrote from the Liberal Democrat conference one year:
Hats off to ... the brilliantly idiosyncratic folks gathered around the ginger group Liberator, who rightly treasure an underrated aspect of this lot: their internal democracy, which makes a mockery of the big two party's annual bunfights, and Labour's squashing of its membership and activists in particular.
So it is encouraging him to see him write this in the Guardian:
As also evidenced by a steady stream of council byelection results, a proper Lib Dem revival may only be a matter of time. 
Whatever the contortions of the Labour leadership, I wonder about the Labour leaders of our big cities, and the first minister of Wales, and at what point they may break from their hopeless party line, and begin to pointedly question something that will so deeply damage the places where they hold power. 
All the time, it gets louder: the early stirring of a messy realignment, and the birth pangs of 48/52 politics, whose consequences – on both sides of the divide – could be just as seismic as Brexit itself.
Or as I wrote in July:
Maybe the tectonic plates really are moving. Already, Remain and Leave across the UK, and Yes and No in Scotland, seem more vital and more coherent identities than the old party labels.
Some form of realignment now seems inevitable. The danger for the Liberal Democrats is that it will take place without our being a major player.

That danger seems lessened now. We should remain tribal until it disappears, but in the long run wonderful things may happen.

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