Thursday, September 14, 2006

Leader resigns after nine years in government…

...after pressure from an ambitious and abrasive colleague who believes the leadership is his rightful inheritance. Despite the misgivings of many party colleagues, it's too late to find a credible rival, so the leadership contest is likely to end up as a coronation. Some believe the new leader will save the party from electoral cataclysm. Others that he will alienate people and the haemmorhage in support will continue.

No, it's not the British Labour party now or next May but the Irish Progressive Democrats (PDs). Read the full story here. The PDs are supposedly the liberal party of Ireland. They are more like European liberals than British Lib Dems, with a Thatcherite view of economics. Combining this with a strong belief in secularism and a visceral hostility to republicans, they have targeted an electoral niche market – liberal-minded affluent, middle class and metropolitan - and punched above their weight in Irish politics since their formation in 1987.

It remains to be seen what impact their new leader will have on their electoral fortunes.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

Some would argue that the LibDems are less liberal than the PD ;)

Personally I think both parties are liberal, but place different emphasis on different areas.
Economic liberalism is well within the mainstream of liberal tradition.

The PD are not the equivalent of the LibDems, but they are the liberals in Ireland. We don't really have a direct analogy in the UK, perhaps the bastard child of the LibDems and the libertarian Tories might create it...