Letter: Lib Dems find reassurance in their origins

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The Independent Online
Sir: Danny Finkelstein's article 'Another year, another split' (15 August) demonstrates his lack of understanding of the reasons behind the formation and the success of the Liberal Democrats.

Far from the party consisting of 'rootless radical Liberals and traditional social democrats', it is the belief of party members and many voters in the traditional Liberal values of liberty, equality and community that has spawned an ever-increasing membership, power in more than 180 local councils, three parliamentary by-election gains and the recent breakthrough into the European Parliament.

It is obvious from the behaviour of a number of social democrats during the past 13 years, and the long list of intra- and inter- party splits they and their friends have caused, that it is they who are still searching for their roots. Some, such as Mr Finkelstein, have found their home in the Conservative Party; others appear to be waiting within the Liberal Democrats, biding their time until they can join what they always wanted - a socialism-free Labour Party.

Those of us who joined the Liberal Democrats to provide a radical, liberal alternative to the constraints of socialism and conservatism, know exactly where our roots are and where we are going.

Yours faithfully,


Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire

15 August

The writer is a member of the Liberal Democrats' federal executive.