SUGGESTIONS the Lib Dems could ‘disappear’ because of the ‘shift in politics’ have been dismissed by the party’s Wycombe leader – following a neighbouring councillor’s defection.
There is an excellent explanation of the structure of political ideas in the author’s preface to Living with Leviathan (David B Smith, IEA, 2006). Smith posits as a replacement for the conventional and flawed left/right spectrum what he calls Hayek’s Triangle:
On this scheme:
- The Labour party is an alliance of various denominations of socialist (democratic socialist, social democrat etc, etc) plus an occasional classical liberal in the wrong party.
- The Conservative party is a mixture of conservative interventionists and classical liberals.
- The Liberal Democrats comprise classical liberals and socialists.
These days, Conservatism is not the avoidance of change – perhaps it never was – but its embrace: big society not big government, social responsibility not state control. This is the new politics. Either you embrace a more dynamic future based on productive relationships between individuals or you are stuck in a past which relied on big government, on imposed state solutions which never seemed quite to work.
Could the LibDems disappear? Possibly, perhaps probably. More important are the practical questions which impact on people’s lives: Where can I give birth? Is a good school place available? Is my income secure? Where will my next job come from?
The fact is, as I said during the campaign, all parties are coalitions. The important political question is this: can we best answer those practical questions through freedom and responsibility or through state control?