Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Could there be more Liberal Democrats?

Many have predicted that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition could lead to realignments in the party system. But did they expect these realignments to start outside the country?

The Canadian Liberal Party has been going through another round of sluggish polls and an unpopular leader who doesn't seem to be taking them anywhere. Michael Ignatieff must be thankful that Canada lacks a tradition of ruthlessly deposing leaders (and if people think the UK is harsh, just take a look at Australia!). Nevertheless he's polling badly and senior Liberals are starting to openly think the once unthinkable - a merger of the left parties, mainly to unite the Liberals and New Democratic Party.

What is really embarrassing for Ignatieff is that opinion polls exploring this option show that a merger would do less well under his leadership than under either his Liberal leadership rival Bob Rae or the NDP leader Jack Layton. (See New AR Poll: 8-pt CPC Lead - and Mergers?) At the moment the merger is just an idea being kite-flown, albeit with some pretty senior kite-flyers, but it could run and run. We shall see...

And what would this new party be called? Well the traditional way to do it is "one word from your party and one word from my party" and I doubt the NDP are suckers enough to accept their word being "Party". There is an obvious name already in use elsewhere in the world, so am I the first the christen the prospective group "Liberal Democrats"?

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