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13 Sep 1:16pm

The Guardian view on the Lib Dems: missing their moment | Editorial

The Guardian
With Labour moving left and the Tories turning right, there ought to be room in the centre of British politics. Yet the Liberal Democrats are struggling to appear relevantOne side-effect of the ideological mania gripping the Conservatives is to put a retrospective gloss on the 2010-15 coalition government. There is not much to cherish in the legacy of the administration that set Britain on an ill-judged course of austerity. But the unleashing of a more fanatical rightwing Tory impulse since 2015 testifies, in hindsight, to the restraining, if limited, influence of the Liberal Democrats in government. That isn’t much use to Vince Cable, a coalition cabinet minister three years ago, now leading a party parked on the margins. A reconfiguration of British politics – with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour moving leftward and a radical rightwing Tory agenda – ought, perhaps, to leave room for a third-way English party. Yet the Lib Dems haven’t expanded into the space. Their desultory performance has many causes. To protest against New Labour governments from a liberal-left position, only to then join forces with the Conservatives, was too violent a lurch for many of the party’s natural supporters.
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