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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Labour and the Lib Dems

This morning's Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4 included a fascinating discussion about relations between Labour and the Lib Dems. When Labour thought that the Lib Dems were easily wooable, they weren't interested in doing much wooing. But now that Labour realises that Liberal Democrats in government can find other coalition partners, their pursuit of Lib Dems has become both more determined and more desperate. Of course, it's partly about wanting to make Labour appear liberal (some hope), win over Lib Dem voters and attack the Coalition. But it's also about Labour's fear that, having assumed for decades that Liberals would automatically work with them in a hung Parliament, they've been proven wrong. Also interesting in this piece was the suggestion that the 2015 General Election won't be about spending cuts, because the cuts will have been and gone by then and the economy will probably be growing - it will be about tax cuts. This is a timely reminder to all Lib Dems that the next General Election will be fought in a very different context from that of 2010, and is still more than four years away.


  1. The trouble for you guys is that many voters thought you'd work with Labour in the event of a hung parliament. Now the myth that the libdems are actually a progressive party has been dispelled, Labour doesn't want to woo the party but rather the people who voted for you. The last thing Labour needs is to be working with a load of proto-tories like Clegg and Laws, we've already got enough Blairites to fill that role.

  2. So does the fact that Labour has previously served in a Conservative-led Coalition Government mean that Labour is not a progressive party? Labour's leadership is desperately worried that if there was a series of hung Parliaments and the Lib Dems continued to serve in government not with Labour, but with the Conservatives, then there could never be another Labour government.

  3. @MH

    The only way that could happen is if the party split and the Cleggites became a the National Liberal party.

  4. I don't see the logic of that - why would the party have to split for it to remain in coalition with the Conservatives if there is another hung Parliament? Germany's liberal party, the Free Democrats, has worked constructively with the centre-right CDU-CSU without the party splitting.