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The Lib Dems are ready to take up the progressive mantle – and offer robust opposition to Labour | Max von Thun

With bold manifesto pledges on tax, Brexit and immigration, Ed Davey’s party could push the incoming government to be more radical

  • Max von Thun was a political adviser to the Liberal Democrats from 2017 to 2019

With the Conservatives in self-destruct mode, Labour is expected to win a sweeping majority in the upcoming general election. Yet, despite the Tories’ implosion, Labour has insisted on sticking to an increasingly conservative economic script, notwithstanding the huge challenges facing the country – from rising inequality and crumbling public services to low investment and stagnating productivity. This raises the worrying prospect that, once in government, the party will fail to seize a rare opportunity to steer the UK’s economy towards a more prosperous and equitable future.

Robust opposition in parliament will be key to ensuring that Labour does not end up stuck in a bland centrism that is unable or unwilling to grapple with the root causes of the UK’s malaise. The Tories, consumed by infighting and the prospect of a takeover by the far right, will certainly not provide this. But the Liberal Democrats, who according to recent polls may win more than 60 seats, could.

Max von Thun was a political adviser to the Liberal Democrats from 2017 to 2019. He is Europe director at the Open Markets Institute, an anti-monopoly thinktank

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