Paddy Ashdown: Lib Dems’ biggest challenge is not to lose our heads (via The Independent)

“I bring you nought for your comfort, Yea, nought for your desire. Save that the sky grows darker yet, And the sea rises higher.”

Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

I suspect that many Lib Dems waking on Monday morning will identify with King Alfred’s speech to his ragged army in G.K Chesterton’s epic “The Ballad of the White Horse”.

We Liberal Democrats have endured some sombre post-electoral dawns recently. And this one is going to be another of them. With the election just a year away, this poses some serious questions for us. But they pose questions for the other parties too.

With Ukip on the stage, can the Tories ever win a majority on their own again? They may hate coalition, but is it now the best the Tories can hope for? Mr Cameron famously wouldn’t “obsess about Europe” because he knew it was toxic for his party’s unity. But by helping Ukip put a European referendum centre stage, he has now cheerfully taken the viper to his breast. A 2017 European referendum could be as deadly to Tory unity as the 1975 one was to Labour. Listen to the Tory voices calling for an electoral pact with Ukip and you can already hear the distant thunder.

True to form, Labour’s answer to its difficulties is an enquiry and another outing for its traditional circular firing squad.

Full story here

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