I have a feeling I have read this before somewhere, but in this week's New Statesman George Eaton reveals that:
A week after the EU referendum, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, was taken by surprise when a close ally of George Osborne approached him and suggested the creation of a new centrist party called “the Democrats” (the then chancellor had already pitched the idea to Labour MPs).Tim's response was surely the correct one:
“I’m all ears and I’m very positive about working with people in other parties,” Farron told me. But he said that the “most effective thing” he could do was to rebuild the Liberal Democrats.But I also agree with Nick Clegg:
From despair may spring opportunity. “It is amazing how this Brexit-Trump phase has really mobilised interest in politics,” Nick Clegg said. “It’s galvanised a lot of people . . . That will lead somewhere. If in a democracy there is a lot of energy about, it will find an outlet.”As I wrote back in October when people began to notice the Liberal Democrat revival:
Some form of realignment now seems inevitable. The danger for the Liberal Democrats is that it will take place without our being a major player.
That danger seems lessened now. We should remain tribal until it disappears, but in the long run wonderful things may happen.