Labour (and most of the Right) always thought of the Liberal Democrats as a left-wing party. Most LibDem activists still do and, earlier this week Jonathan Isaby wrote about the success of "Coalition-sceptics", like Tim Farron, in internal elections. On LabourList today, Anthony Painter has written about the end of the budding LibLab romance that so many on the Left had such high hopes for. In an open letter to Liberal Democrats he writes:
"What I’d really like you to know is that though we can never be as close again there is a way we can be friends. When you are over the heady early few months of romance, you may realise that you just went too far. Really, I want you to be happy but if you need our friendship once things become harder and colder, do get in touch again."
Well, work is underway to rebuild a LibLab friendship, perhaps drawing inspiration from Simon Hughes likening the Coalition to a loveless marriage. The Guardian reports how this is happening through the AV campaign where many Labour and LibDem MPs are joining together in the common cause of attempting to kill off First Past The Post. Even more interesting is the Latimer Project, a project that Will Straw describes at LeftFootForward. The project has four themes:
- How can British progressives learn lessons from recent political renewals in the US and UK?
- What is the funding, impact, and organisation of the British conservative ecosystem?
- How does the progressive left do by comparison?
- What more is needed?
On the Right side of the fence efforts are also underway to explore future LibCon co-operation. The Coalition 2.0 project – described here – is part of that.