New Times,
New Thinking.

23 May 2010

Andrew Adonis on the historical context of this coalition

Former Lib Dem in warning to his old party.

By James Macintyre

Most interesting article of the day comes from Andrew Adonis who, writing in the Independent on Sunday, compares David Cameron to Benjamin Disraeli and makes a hint that the Liberal Democrats, his old party, have compromised their identity. From the piece, which you should read in full:

So Cameron did a Disraeli, sweeping Nick Clegg off his feet and presenting him with an ever larger hoard of gifts, including the referendum on the Alternative Vote which Lib Dems prize above all. By this means — after five days of alarums and excursions — Hughenden Man persuaded Clegg to put him in office.

In the process, Cameron also hopes to have isolated his own right wing and appropriated Liberal branding so that he, too, is seen as leading a new centrist Lib-Con party able to win a majority against Labour.

As for the Lib Dems, who suffered the greatest disappointment on 6 May, their right side is already half consumed by Cameron, and their larger left is now prey to Labour, the Greens, and, no doubt, a breakaway “true Liberal” party hereafter. A similar fate befell the Liberals when they last formed a peacetime coalition with the Tories, but that is another story.

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