Liberal Democrats are reflecting on the likely and disappointing loss of the AV referendum, and difficult electoral results in Scotland, Wales and in English local elections.
The Social Liberal Forum has said for some time that the party needed to show more publicly how the Liberal Democrats differ from the Conservatives within the coalition. The Party signed up to this at the March conference when agreeing a new strategy whereby ministers lead the way in communicating not only those Coalition policies that are clearly Liberal Democrat ones, but also those which we accept as a result of being in Coalition and those Tory policies we’ve successfully blocked or amended.
As Nick Clegg recently affirmed, “If this referendum campaign, in a slightly gloves-off manner, has dramatised the fact that the Liberal Democrats are the progressive voice of this coalition, then it is not a bad thing in the long run.”
The party needs to work with liberals and social democrats across the party divide to restate its position as a voice of the centre-left, and this is best achieved if we clearly communicate how our vision of a fairer, greener Britain differs from both Tory and Labour parties’ current stance.