The Liberal Democrat 'identity crisis'

"You have no idea of the behind-the-scenes bonding between Nick and Dave."

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In this week's issue of the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre examine the challenges facing the Liberal Democrats ahead of their party conference in Liverpool. The piece, titled The Kennedy Conundrum, argues that the party is suffering from an "identity crisis" and quotes David Hall-Matthews, chair of the influential centre-left pressure group the Social Liberal Forum (founded by Lib Dem members and campaigner), who tells the NS:

The mood is a mixture of excitement and growing anxiety. I wouldn't expect there to be outright hostility towards the leadership but people will be coming to the conference with questions about how we retain our distinctiveness as a party while working in the coalition

Another intriguing quote from the piece comes from a well-connected Lib Dem frontbencher who says apropos of the apparent ideological coherence between Nick Clegg and David Cameron:

You have no idea of the extent of the behind-the-scenes bonding that has gone on between Nick and Cameron, as well as Nick and other Tories like Osborne. They've all been slagging off Labour together like there's no tomorrow.

You can read it in full here.