Neal Lawson has argued in a blog post that:
The Lib Dems
“The Lib Dems went into coalition with the Tories, backed the cuts and broke their promise on tuition fees. But back in May 2010 it wasn’t so simple. Then the greatest fear was that the Tories would go to the country again with a huge war chest and win outright, meaning no-one holding the right in check. It was a real fear.
And in a voting system in which the electoral odds are stacked against you, what is the point of being the third party if you don’t take a chance influencing government when it so rarely comes along? And with Labour looking tired, seemingly longing for the opposition benches, no real counter offer was made. Of course it’s a case of be careful what you wish for, but you can at least understand why they made the choice they did.
And remember this in our fury against the Lib Dems. It was Labour that started the commercialization of the NHS and education and tried to privatise the Post Office. It was Labour that pioneered welfare-to-work schemes and brought in A4e. And it was Labour that gave knighthoods to out of control bankers and promised cuts deeper than Thatcher. Oh and it was Labour that reneged on tuition fees and today backs them at £6000 per year. We should be careful about our fury just in case it smacks of hypocrisy.
Is there any downside to ensuring that if there is another hung parliament, ideas and relationships tilt the balance to the left and not again to the right? Many in Labour would have much in common with Simon Hughes, Charles Kennedy, Shirley Williams and Tim Farron. The growing Social Liberal Forum and the new Liberal Left provide fertile ground for talks.
Even if your only hope is to persuade as many Lib Dems as possible to vote Labour, then is that best achieved by attacking them remorselessly and relentlessly?”
It is worth reading his whole piece and considering whether alienating most Lib Dems while winning back the most left leaning supporters we borrowed because they were so disgusted with New Labour, is a sensible strategy for a party that will only win if it builds a social democratic consensus.