The Lib Dems are exasperating more than just me by the looks of things. An interesting post here by Oliver Kamm (who I haven't come across before, so have yet to make a judgement beyond him seeming perhaps a tad pretentious, like most of the rest of us bloggers) points out their current attempts to come up with a new description for their political ideology are a tad shaky.
All that many British Labour voters are looking for is an alternative party, and the Lib Dems should be the ideal choice - after all, they were founding by a bunch of former Labour MPs, share many of the same views, but don't have Blair in charge and aren't the Tories. What more could you want?
But Kamm's post also pointed me towards a Guardian article that I'd missed somehow. In it, Matthew Taylor, Chairman of the Lib Dems, makes some interesting points, not least that
"Liberal Democrats refuse to be pigeonholed into left or right. We believe that the 20th-century division into left and right failed... Take this example. David Blunkett and David Davis would both leave asylum seekers destitute, want every citizen to carry an ID card and have supported the removal of the right to silence. Left and right, but equally illiberal. Liberal Democrats oppose these measures because we believe it is vital to protect the citizen from an over-mighty state. So the press label us leftwing. We say it's liberal."
That's pretty much my position - on certain issues my views would be considered right-wing, on others I'd be on the left. It isn't necessary to buy completely into one set political ideology - that's when the problems start (and why I doubt I will ever join any political party) and is unhealthy for any democracy.
The whole point of a democracy is freedom of choice, so why tie yourself to one set of opinions or one party when there might be better viewpoints and alternatives if you bother to look around a bit? Blind voting for the Tories led to 18 years of disappointment and anger; blind voting for Labour seems to be leading to a similar number of years of frustration. This doesn't HAVE to be a two-party system - after all, look at the trouble America's in...
Oh, and here's a thought - why is it that in Britain if you are pro-European you are automatically labelled left-wing? The EU is dedicated to furthering trade and industry, and effectively promoting protectionist policies to anyone outside its little club. You can't get much more capitalist than that - so why are most right-wingers in this country opposed to it? It couldn't, perchance, be because they're xenophobic racists?