Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lib Dems going the same way as the PD's?

Iain Dale in his blog poses the question whether the Liberal Democrats will cease to exist as a poll undertaken by Lord Ashcroft shows that only 54% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 would do so again.

This is nothing new in coalition politics with the demise of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland being a case in point. The Progressive Democrats were formed in 1985 following a fallout between the founder of the PD's and Charles Haughey and in 1987 they won 14 seats out of 166 in the Dail pushing Labour into fourth place. The PD's were a free-market, economically conservative party, very similar to the 'Orange Book' wing of the Liberal Democrats which is currently in the ascendancy within the party. The PD's were minority coalition partners with Fianna Fail on four occasions and they were,
largely credited with shaping the low-tax, pro-business environment that contributed to Ireland's Celtic Tiger economic boom during the 1990s and 2000s.

Despite their apparent economic competence the PD's were wiped out in the 2007 General Election losing 6 of their 8 seats and the party folded in 2008 with the remaining two TD's becoming independents within the Fianna Fail and Green coalition.

Whilst I don't think the Liberal Democrats will cease to exist they will probably remain as Westminster's third biggest party albeit with about half the seats. The situation in Wales and Scotland is different where the demise of the Liberal Democrats seem far more likely because there is an alternative in Plaid Cymru and the SNP. We won't have to wait long for the Welsh/Scottish theory.


True Wrexham said...

Quite right, this is nothing new for coalition politics.. Plaid did not make expected gains at the general election, probably a result of the One Wales Government in Cardiff.

Predict Welsh Assembly loss for Plaid in Aberconwy to the Tories and expect Angela Burns will hold her own against Nerys Evans in Carmarthen West.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Do you really think that disaffected Lib Dems will vote Tory in Wales and Scotland? Dream on.

Atlanta Painters HQ said...

"One way to get Liberals on our side is to appeal to what makes them purr like little cats- we must reclaim civil liberties. Although Labour did make some poor decisions on civil liberties I don't regret for one moment the rolling out of CCTV, but Ed has made clear his intentions in this area which is a good start.

Traditionally the only real thing that the Liberals and Tories agreed on were civil liberties, but we, as a party that was built on Liberty and freedom, should do better in this area."

glynbeddau said...

An Irish friend of mine used to bemoan the fact that with the PDs Ireland had three Conservative Parties. I think the Lib-Dems will find the UK hasn't room for another one.

menaiblog said...

There is a history in Ireland of smaller parties appearing & dissapearing. There's no such history in the UK - although for most of the last century the Lib Dems were a far smaller party than it is today. It'll probably return to those levels of support.