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  1. Business
  2. Economics
25 August 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:14am

Does anyone out there still think the Lib Dems have an identity?

Even the FT is calling for the party to reassert itself.

By James Macintyre

As the Liberal Democrats stay in denial mode about the “regressive” nature of the government’s fiscal agenda, as reiterated by the IFS report today on the “emergency” Budget, criticisms of that party have come from an unpredictable new quarter: the Financial Times.

The respected, basically non-ideological and pragmatic Pink Paper — which, if anything, has tilted slightly rightwards in recent months — yesterday ran a fascinating comment piece by Ian Birrell, the former deputy editor of the Independent, arguing that the Lib Dems were not making themselves heard in Whitehall meetings.

The sentiment was intriguing because Birrell was also a highly-thought-of adviser and speechwriter to David Cameron during the election campaign, and is believed to hold New Tory sympathies.

Today, the FT has devoted its main leading article to a critique of the Lib Dems along similar lines. Unfortunately both articles are behind a paywall, but the leader concludes by saying: “No wonder [Clegg’s] foot soldiers wonder what the point of entering government was.”

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Ouch. No wonder, too, that Clegg is preparing the ground for huge defeats in the local elections next year.

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