FT editorial: Lib Dems’ “ultimate selling point is they are not like the other parties”

Following on from yesterday’s feature interview with Nick Clegg, today’s Financial Times carries a generous editorial on the Lib Dems and the party’s contribution to British politics:

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that it is “not beyond the realms of possibility” that his party could move into second place at the next election, ahead of Labour. His party might well receive more votes than Labour; they nearly managed that feat in 1983. …

Of the big national parties, only they opposed the war in Iraq and only they have consistently opposed Labour’s illiberalism. Thanks to Vince Cable, their economic spokesman, the Lib Dems have also been prominent in the debate on the financial crisis.

At the moment, they are also leading the debate on the country’s fiscal dilemma. Whereas the main parties continue to exchange bromides, the Lib Dems have made the bold, if contentious, decision not to support renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent.

Offering clarity when others prefer obfuscation is a valuable public service. Even if the Lib Dems do not win, they flush out the inconsistencies of their opponents. In their eagerness to become one of Britain’s governing parties, the Liberal Democrats must avoid becoming risk-averse. Their ultimate selling point is they are not like the other parties.

Okay, so the FT is not the Daily Mail. It’s read by a small number of potential Lib Dem voters. But, still, it’s noteworthy that (1) the paper felt it was worth devoting an editorial to the Lib Dems’ prospects, and (2) when it did so, it’s given the party a positive report.

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13 Comments

  • Peter Bancroft 25th Jun '09 - 11:49am

    The days that it was embarassing to be amongst successful people and being a Lib Dem supporter (banning goldfish, wanting all schools to just “get better” without reform, criminalising speeding in wheelchairs, etc) are feeling increasingly far away.

    Whilst the Mail certainly has the potential to bring votes, support from the FT brings credibility, something we’ve really needed.

    Credit to Nick Clegg and Vince Cable in particular – it feels like there’s a big lag before there is acknowledgement of their actions, but with any luck it’s catching up now.

  • Herbert Brown 25th Jun '09 - 11:56am

    “The days that it was embarassing to be amongst successful people and being a Lib Dem supporter … are feeling increasingly far away.”

    What makes me think you have in mind a rather narrow definition of “successful people”?

  • Denim Justice 25th Jun '09 - 1:42pm

    Your ultimate selling point is that you are not like Tories and Labour… so you are defined by what you are not, rather than by anything you actually are. Isn’t that a bit sad? I mean, what happens if either Tories or Labour are popular? That makes you pretty pointless.

  • Herbert Brown 25th Jun '09 - 5:38pm

    Oranjepan

    The trouble is:
    (1) it seems to be the “Others” who are reaping the benefits of the unpopularity of the established parties, not the Lib Dems and
    (2) under the present electoral system, in order to end up with more seats than Labour, it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough for the Lib Dems to be ahead of Labour in the popular vote – the Lib Dems would need to be well over 10 points ahead of Labour.

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Another reason to switch to the Wall Street Journal.

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