We’ve learnt the hard way not to stand in the middle of the road

We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.

Aneurin Bevan quoted in the Observer, 6 December 1953

We have reason to be cautiously optimistic about the forthcoming elections.

It will probably take years to clarify why we had such a disastrous result in the 2015 general election, but it seems plausible to say that it was because people did not know what we stood for any more. Despite a laundry list of governmental achievements, we had, to an extent, sold our soul to the devil – the tuition fees disaster being emblematic of the whole thing. Then we went into the election saying effectively that we’d put a tape measure between the two other main parties and stand exactly equidistant between them. OK, that’s not what we said, but that was the perception that came over.

Two acts of great leadership by Tim Farron are helping to turn around our fortunes. Firstly, his clear and courageous stand against Brexit and, then, against hard Brexit. Secondly, his declaration last night that we will not enter into any coalitions or deals after this election.

At last we have a very distinctive, independent position and we are making a very credible bid to the be the main opposition to the Conservatives.

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