Lib Dems’ choice

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Christine Jardine (Perspective, 16 May) lauded the views of Tim Farron MP and in particular a comment in one of his speeches that there is no market “for a party that sets itself up as the permanent see-saw coalition partner”.

Over the next century, the Liberal Democrat party can become one of two things. It can be a hotbed of progressive ideas which it hopes will be adopted in whole or in part by the parties likely to get into government. Alternatively, it can be a party that gets into government, exercising real influence and restraint on the worst aspects of their rivals. But it certainly has to choose.

Its current predicament can well be put down to the fact that it was unable to present effectively what it did achieve as the junior partner in a coalition for five years from 2010. At the same time it did not organise itself well enough on the ground to counter offensives from the Nationalists in Scotland and the Conservatives in the west of England and elsewhere.

Should Mr Farron become leader, he needs to campaign on the basis there are certain principles to be held dear – on tackling poverty, improving housing, checking the power of the state, moving towards a federal structure of government. Getting into government will still be the main means by which those ideals can be realised.


Shiel Court