Norman Lamb misses the point when he says that he thinks the Liberal Democrats were destroyed by going into coalition and smaller parties will now, therefore, avoid this tactic (Report, 15 May). It was not that they went into coalition per se – it was that they went into coalition with the Conservatives, allowing them to form a government. Had they gone into coalition with Labour they would have been more closely honouring the values of those who had voted for them and would not have suffered such substantial losses at this election.
Many of us who voted Lib Dem in 2010 defected from Labour because of (among other things) Charlie Kennedy’s principled stance against the Iraq war and Nick Clegg’s promise that tuition fees would be scrapped. We also saw them as an honourable, decent party. We voted for a fairer, kinder government but ended up with the opposite of what we’d hoped for. The Liberal Democrats let us down badly.
I now vote Green and would be more than happy for them to form a coalition with the Labour party. If they formed a coalition with the Conservatives (which I know they never would), I would leave the Green party immediately.
The Lib Dems could come back as one element of a popular front, with Labour, Plaid Cymru and the GreensRupert Read
• Your ) calls for a strengthened Liberal Democrat party. It fails to consider two other possibilities that may be more desirable, and perhaps more likely. 1) The Lib Dems could come back as one element of a “popular front”, an electoral pact with Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Greens in (say) 100 seats, designed to end the absurdity of illiberal majority Conservative government on a minority vote. 2) They could follow the path of their former sister party in Australia, the Democrats, who, in finding electoral oblivion, were replaced as the third party by the Greens, and have now ceased to exist altogether.
2015 Green MP-candidate for Cambridge and former Lib Dem activist
• As a former Liberal party president who helped to bring about the alliance and then merger with the Social Democrats, I welcome Tim Farron’s suggestion that we return to the name “Liberal”. The description “Liberal Democrats” was created to meet a specific need at a specific time. Both the need and the time have passed. Now the need is to return to mature soil in which to nurture new growth.
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords
• In 2004 The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism was published. Generally regarded as one of the most economically liberal publications of recent times it stood as a challenge to the social liberalism that many who voted Lib Dem in 2010 assumed that the party stood for. Key contributors to this book included Clegg, Cable, Laws, Davey and Huhne, all of whom were to serve in the Cabinet as secretaries of state. It was also Laws that led the negotiating team.
Following the formation of the 2010 coalition government, the contributors to the book who were elected all ended up with ministerial posts. Susan Kramer, who lost her seat, was co-opted back in as a baroness so she could be given a ministerial position.
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