The great Liberal Democrat betrayal and the young generation

Some political commentators on the left of the centre regard the new coalition government in the UK as an abomination, and that the Liberal Democrats have sold their soul to the Tory devil. According to their view, the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to create a progressive alliance was denied by Mr Clegg. As such, the young generation that supported the Liberal Democrats will feel betrayed.

Is this a fair assessment? There are reasons to argue otherwise. First: not all young people are progressive. This probably applies to all young generations of the past, and there is no strong reason to believe that this young generation is particularly progressive. Second: Labour’s policies in government have not always been progressive. War in Iraq and ID cards, for example, can hardly be beacons of progressive politics. Therefore even if the young generation were very progressive, Labour would not constitute its natural home. Third: many young people can only remember a Labour government. They grew up in the Blair-Brown years. If rebellion and challenging status quo is a youthful thing to do, then kicking Labour out of office seems logical.

Each generation is defined differently. It is for today’s young generation to find its own voice, instead of fighting the war again that the commentators fought when they were the young generation.