Tuesday, July 11, 2006

LibDems falling into the old Tory trap

Back in the late 1990s, when I first became involved in Norwich politics, old die-hard Tory activists used to tell me that winning no seats wasn't a problem. You see, the Conservative voters were lending their votes to the LibDems and would eventually return. That has proved to be false in at least half a respect - local LibDem voters do, on the whole, vote Tory at General Elections. But it has taken a hard slog in an old Labour ward to return Tories to Norwich City Council. Success has, yet, to come from returning LibDem voters.

It is therefore with some surprise that I learn that the Norwich LibDems are fooling themselves in a very similar way. I had dinner the other night with a LibDem who took great delight in telling me that their 4th May drubbing was OK as far as they were concerned. LibDems voters were lending their votes to the Greens and would all come flooding back when they realised the error of their ways, he said.

I think this is as niave as the Tory suggestions. LibDem voters on the left have switched to the "real thing" - or the nearest thing to acceptable socialism, the Green Party. They won't come back until the Greens make a big, big cock-up of something (not likely soon as they are a mile away from power).

If the LibDem attitude is to sit back and wait, I think they'll ponder on the opposition benches for a long time to come.

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