...A difference which has endured for the best part of a century and lives on in the modern Liberal Democrat and Labour parties.
Liberalism believes fairness, fulfilment and freedom can be best secured by giving real power directly to millions of citizens. Socialism believes that society can only be improved through relentless state activism, a belief driven by far greater pessimism about the ability of people to improve their own lives.
A liberal believes in the raucous, unpredictable capacity of people to take decisions about their own lives. A Socialist believes in the ordered, controlled capacity of the state to take the right decisions about other peoples’ lives.
A liberal believes a progressive society is distinguished by aspiration, creativity and non conformity. A Socialist believes a progressive society is characterised by enlightened top-down Government. …
Optimism in people. Dispersing power. These then are the key instincts of liberals.
All well and good, and I can imagine my LibDem friends agreeing with every word of that. But they should think on. Now read that again, replacing the word Liberal with the word Conservative. There's no difference is there? And doesn't that just highlight the problems the LibDems have - they can't differentiate themselves and create their own political space.