Letters: Labour fantasists and radical Lib Dems

Polly Toynbee is right about the need for Lib-Lab co-operation to replace the present government (Comment, 31 August). But this needs to happen fast, given that the UK’s economy is in tatters and our social infrastructure is being so cruelly and quickly dismantled. As Jubilympic euphoria fades and the harsh reality sinks in, this provides Labour with a golden opportunity. It should declare its intention of forcing an election in 2013 and discuss with non-cabinet Lib Dems a deal not to stand against them, if that would mean a Tory victory in their seat. Any remaining Labour fantasists hoping for a majority next time should heed Peter Hain’s warning that voter promiscuity makes this very unlikely.
Colin Hines
East Twickenham, Middlesex

• Polly Toynbee does the cause of Labour-Lib Dem co-operation her usual disservice with her patronising call that “Labour must forgive the Lib Dems”. Strange as it may seem to her, Lib Dems neither seek nor value any such forgiveness. We do not see ourselves as Labour’s prodigal son. If anyone needs to seek forgiveness, from British voters and Iraqis, it is arrogant Labour. The war in Iraq and accompanying lies, the contempt for freedom, the encouragement of obscene wealth, as well as the huge public overspend and dire local government record, have left Labour with a vast respect deficit.

Liberal Democrats have no need to pretend to be more radical than Labour, it is just a fact. Our raising of the income tax threshold, the pupil premium for disadvantaged kids, improvement in pensions, ending of protest bans, unjustified stop and search and child migrant detention are all measures Labour failed to deliver in 13 years and we have in two.
Sarah Ludford
Lib Dem, House of Lords

• Cursed with a long memory, I’m perturbed by suggestions that Labour should cosy up to the Lib Dems. Thirty-five years ago the Lib-Lab pact of the late 1970s proved a misjudgment. It encouraged both the rise of Thatcherism and the defection of the SDP faction, leaving the great coalition that is the Labour party unbalanced and distracted for several years.

We have an electoral system, recently endorsed by referendum, best suited to there being only two large parties. Our system would therefore function better if the Lib Dems reverted to the status enjoyed by the Liberals the 1960s; half a dozen oddball seats and the occasional by-election triumph. As the Tories may soon learn, getting into bed with an unpredictable third party can satisfy short-term cravings, but often brings long-term grief.
Brian Hughes
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

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