Letter: Lib Dems dare to be different

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The Independent Online
Sir: Peter Kellner ('Two traditions, one future', 26 June) is right to identify the fundamental question for Liberal Democrats and Labour (are they really different?) and right to identify the consequences (merge or proclaim their differences). He is wrong about almost everything else.

The traditions of liberalism and socialism did not first merge in the Social Democratic Party, but in the new liberalism of the first decade of this century. It was because those traditions were ultimately incompatible that a non- socialist radical tradition has continued through to the present Liberal Democrats.

Those who fail to see any difference in practice should take a look at the reality of Labour in power in cities such as Sheffield and Rotherham. It is not an attractive sight and certainly not one that commends itself to Liberal Democrats. For these reasons, Yorkshire Liberal Democrats have proclaimed their differences with Labour, and were rewarded with net gains from them in the May local elections.

Commentators in London who persist in talking up the dead end of joint discussions should remember that those who know Labour best like it least.

Yours faithfully,

JULIAN CUMMINS

Chair

Yorkshire Liberal Democrats

Leeds

26 June

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