The Party with No Name

The Scotsman - - Scottish Perspective -

It is the po­lit­i­cal party that dare not speak its name. It com­mands a ma­jor­ity in the House of Com­mons, yet it is far from power. A vast swathe of the Bri­tish pub­lic sub­scribe to its prin­ci­ples, yet they do not vote for it.

How­ever, Vince Ca­ble is look­ing to change all that. The Lib­eral Demo­crat leader is mak­ing a pitch for Con­ser­va­tive and Labour MPS and mem­bers to ditch their “ex­treme” wings and help cre­ate a newly pow­er­ful cen­trist force. He’s even of­fered to change his party’s name to ac­com­mo­date them, al­though his sug­ges­tion, the “New Lib­eral Democrats”, hardly seems worth the bother. The Whigs might have a sense of his­tory, but sounds a bit old-fash­ioned, the Sen­si­ble Party has a comic ring, and the Lib­eral Party may suf­fer from the end­less at­tacks on the “global lib­eral elite” by the in­fin­itely scarier “global il­lib­eral elite”.

In re­al­ity, a name is the least of this party’s prob­lems. De­spite dra­matic shifts in pol­i­tics, tribal loy­al­ties seem cer­tain to per­suade most MPS to re­main square pegs ham­mered into round holes, pro­duc­ing the weak, di­vided, squab­bling gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion that we’ve come to know but not love.

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