Last week a tweet by the estimable Stephen Tall crossed my timeline. The tweet pointed to his blogpost The Economist is right. Liberalism is winning. Which could be bad news for the Lib Dems in 2020. That immediately piqued my interest. After all, it is axiomatic, as all right thinking people surely know, that the Economist is pretty much never right about anything. Except, of course, on the odd occasion when, through enlightenment or inadvertence, it takes a position on an issue that I happen to hold already.
But I think on this occasion the Economist, and Stephen’s blogpost, raise an important issue. Nick Clegg, in his emotional resignation speech, argued that liberalism is needed now more than ever. This is a theme that has appeared pretty regularly in statements from leading Liberal Democrat politicians and bloggers, including the candidates for the party leadership, over the last few days. The substantial increase in the party membership since the election is taken by many as an indication that there are plenty of people who agree, but were previously, for whatever reason, not inclined to pin their colours to the mast.
A need for liberalism does not, however, necessarily imply a need for the Liberal Democrats. [Read more…]