The Liberal Democrat conference has stunned political observers with a brutally honest assessment of their own electoral chances that left them voting to ‘go home and not bother any more.’
Britain’s third party has traditionally had a reputation for integrity and avoiding spin, and many delegates had apparently felt uncomfortable about continually pretending they were going to ever form a government. ‘We’re all completely wasting our time. We know it, you know it, everyone knows it’ said leader Menzies Campbell to applause from the conference floor.
In the bars around the conference, there was a sense of relief and liberation that delegates could finally say out loud what they had all been thinking for years. ‘We tried to look convincing when we said we would ‘shatter the smug consensus of the big two parties and win!’ said one West Country councillor. ‘But if we were trying to be honest we should have said ‘we were going to take a few votes off the others and then come a poor third. I mean it’s not much of a cause to devote your entire life to is it?’
At a ‘Liberals for the Environment’ fringe meeting the mood was the same; ‘Having taken the decision to carbon off-set the conference, we thought ‘Wouldn’t it be more carbon-neutral just not to have a conference at all?’ Wouldn’t it save more trees, and paper and everything just to stay at home and muck around on Facebook?’
Other delegates were looking forward to doing evening classes or learning to play the piano. ‘I have spent every weekend for years stuffing leaflets through letter boxes and ringing on doorbells’ said one activist. ‘I might just have a lie-in on Saturday and then go shopping.’
However one small group of die-hard Liberals have announced their determination to carry on. The breakaway splinter group calling themselves ‘the Continuity Liberal Party’ held a press conference to announce their intention to break the mould of traditional three party politics. ‘For too long Labour, Tory and the old Liberal Democrats ran a convenient little cartel that was short-changing the British voters’ they declared to groans from journalists. ‘We will shatter that cosy conspiracy and form the next government of Britain! Actually we won’t, will we? Let’s go to the pub instead.’