It is the political party that dare not speak its name. It commands a majority in the House of Commons, yet it is far from power. A vast swathe of the British public subscribe to its principles, yet they do not vote for it.
However, Vince Cable is looking to change all that. The Liberal Democrat leader is making a pitch for Conservative and Labour MPs and members to ditch their “extreme” wings and help create a newly powerful centrist force.
He’s even offered to change his party’s name to accommodate them, although his suggestion, the “New Liberal Democrats”, hardly seems worth the bother.
The Whigs might have a sense of history, but sounds a bit old-fashioned, the Sensible Party has a comic ring, and the Liberal Party may suffer from the endless attacks on the “global liberal elite” by the infinitely scarier “global illiberal elite”.
In reality, a name is the least of this party’s problems.
Despite dramatic shifts in politics, tribal loyalties seem certain to persuade most MPs to remain square pegs hammered into round holes, producing the weak, divided, squabbling government and opposition that we’ve come to know, but not love.