It’s time for fewer TV images of Nigel down the pub and a lot more questions about what he would do with power
In politics, as sometimes in life, there can be nothing more disappointing than a dream that comes true. It was the decades-long yearning of Lib Dems that Britain’s traditional two-horse race would give way to a pluralistic, multi-party politics. The grip on power of the big two would be broken and supplanted by a rainbow of choices. Now that Lib Dem wish appears to be close to fulfilment. The old blue-red duopoly is fragmenting under the multiple and interwoven pressures of austerity, insecurity, anger with traditional politics and questions of identity. The combined polling share of Labour and the Tories has rarely been so low. The Nationalists are on a roll in Scotland. The Greens are enjoying a surge. Ukip has just bagged its second byelection victory. Multi-party politics has arrived with a bang. And who is that lying on the floor? Why, it is the Lib Dems. We’ve got the multi-party politics they dreamt of, but it has come in a form that is nightmarish for them.
The past masters of the sensational byelection upset have just suffered the worst ever byelection result for a major party. If “major party” is still an appropriate description for the Lib Dems when they now languish in fifth place in some national polls. They achieved less than 1% of the vote in Rochester and Strood and suffered their 11th lost deposit of this parliament.Continue reading...