Lib Dems to replace Tories?

Unlikely, yes. But there are some straws in the wind blowing that way. Ruth Dudley Edwards summed up the Tory problem last week, when she suggested that the party when faced with an open goal had no football with which to score. A tidy performance by Treasury spokesman David Laws on the Week in Westminster (just over a quarter way in) on proposed tax rises, and Andrew Rawnsley believes neither of the two main parties have yet worked out how to tackle their multipronged attack.

  • Tom Griffin

    The Tories are totally incapable of making any kind of bid for the centre ground, which they would have to do to get anywhere because Tony Blair will happily shift to the right on issues like immigration.
    They’ve passed up two good opportunities on Iraq and identity cards.
    There’s acres of political space for the Lib Dems to exploit, but what will be interesting is what happens at constituency level.
    Will there still be the same anti-Tory tactical vote that has prevailed in recent elections?

  • politico

    It really depends on two factors – how ridiculous will a Tory win in 2009 seem after the election and will the Tories move to the centre ground after the election?

    I reckon the odds are around 50/50. I realise that a number of Tories must recognise their electoral problem, but I just don’t see who they have who can take them to the centre ground – the modernisers are a) too young and b) too unpopular with the ultra-reactionary membership. The Lib Dems have a clear pitch – individualist (anti-ID cards in particular), liberal-minded (pro-gay rights, pro-democratic reform, tolerant), European in outlook (not as unpopular as it sounds – this implies anti-war and pro-public services too) – and there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be a perfectly credible alternative to Labour.

    I declare an interest as a Lib Dem, but I reckon that already is a perfectly good alternative – the challenge is to do well in 2005 (70-75 seats?) and then to take advantage of a Tory party still stuck to the right of Attila the Hun … provided they kindly stay there!