The Liberal Democrats

From hope to despair to where?

Authors:
David Cutts
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Andrew Russell
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Joshua Townsley
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The Liberal Democrats: From hope to despair to where? offers crucial insight into the rise, fall and future prospects of the Liberal Democrats – who threatened to break the mould of British politics, entered national government and suffered electoral calamity as a consequence. It analyses the Liberal Democrats’ path to government and near oblivion, and examines the relationship between the party and the electorate in the post-coalition, post-Brexit and post-pandemic eras. It assesses the electoral strategy that enabled growth but precipitated failure, explains how and why the party got the coalition so wrong and the consequences of that failure, and plots a potential future for a party coming to terms with its own political identity. The book evaluates the dynamic relationship between the party and voters, showing the spatial and contextual foundations of Liberal Democrat campaigning and performance in the search for credibility and viability. The Liberal Democrats remain contradictory: a minor party with ambitions to break the status quo; a party whose fortunes depend on firm and decisive leadership but that relies on grassroots activism to remain relevant; a party desperate for its own identity but reliant on others to reach its potential. From hope to despair to where? helps unravel these apparent contradictions.

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