23 April 2010
Are the Liberals about to be reborn?
Exactly a century ago there were two general elections, one in January and the other in December. Neither returned a government with a working majority and both Liberal and Conservative had just over 270 seats each. The Liberals managed to govern thanks to the forty or so Labour members who were returned each time, but neither of the two main parties were in any ideological position to deal with the three main issues that dominated politics of the day; namely a working class that was starting to make its presence felt, women's enfranchisement and the Irish Question. Since the parties were unequipped to carry out their tasks of aggregating political interests it was only right and proper that one of them, the Liberals, would collapse under the weight of it all and allow the Labour Party to come through the gap and take up the role of aggregating anti-Tory votes.
Could the same thing be about to happen in 2010? The parties are not representing the political issues of the day such as immigration, the European Union and management of the economy - to say nothing of a string of wars that hardly anyone wanted in the first place. None of the parties is really answering the people's questions, especially over the related matters of immigration and economic recovery, but it must be admitted that the Liberals are moving ahead of the pack, an ironic circumstance given the events of 1910.
Is it possible that the Liberals, having been first almost destroyed by their failure to represent the new politics of the early twentieth century, are about to be reborn thanks to the new politics of the early twenty-first?