Interesting piece providing some historical context regarding the travails currently facing the Lib Dems and their beleaguered leader Nick Clegg.
The Lib Dems are an opportunistic party of protest, nothing more. When they do win power, locally or nationally, they are forced into choosing between their radical, vote-winning rhetoric and the real politics of their leadership. Unsurprisingly they always go with the latter and the results are always messy. The Lib Dems can quite reasonably expect to be cast to the outer darkness at the next election and deservedly so. Would things have really been different if Charles Kennedy or Menzies Campbell were still leader? Somehow I doubt it, unfortunately.
I wonder if Nick Clegg would recognize the photo of the man above? If he doesn’t, then he should familiarize himself with it. Sir John Simon took his faction of the Liberal Party into the National Government in 1931. Simon’s reasoning was similar to Clegg’s: he was acting in the national interest. In order to understand how things got this way for the party we need to go back a little further to the end of the First World War.
The so-called “Coupon” election saw Andrew Bonar law’s Coalition Conservatives come in first place with Lloyd George’s Coalition Liberals in second place. The National Coalition, which had governed during the war, was thus returned in a landslide. But there was simmering discontent among the Tories who formed the largest group within the coalition. The Conservatives managed to prove that Lloyd George’s had been selling knighthoods and peerages (quite possibly…
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