Writing The Guardian after the Henley by-election result, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said:
[Henley] showed us that the evaporation of New Labour’s support in southern England – so carefully put together in the 1990s by Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell – is now complete.
So what hope is there left for progressive voters in Britain? Has Cameron’s aversion to spelling out what he would do if he was handed the keys to No 10 done the trick? By avoiding any controversy, any meaningful policy choices, has he done enough to lull progressives into thinking that maybe it won’t be so bad after all to have a Conservative back in Downing Street?
I sincerely hope not because I do not believe that the Conservative party can deliver the changes needed to make Britain the fairer, more socially mobile society that progressives of all parties want. But equally we must understand that the New Labour model of social progress has failed. Instead, we must turn to a different model of how we deliver social justice: the liberal model…
For those who swung to New Labour in the 1990s because they wanted a fairer Britain the Liberal Democrats now offer the most vibrant progressive home. If they stick with an exhausted Labour party and its failed ideas or succumb to the Conservatives’ siren promises, we will wake up in 2010 to a government that will not deliver a fairer Britain. And that would be a tragedy for the millions still waiting for a better life.
You can read the full piece here.