Is the centre ground bouncing back? One could certainly argue so. Still reeling from the tide of nationalistic populism that has swept the Western world, the middle classes have risen to the occasion tremendously. Here in the UK, attending anti - Brexit marches, draped in European flags and face paint, chanting good naturedly between sips of hot tea from Thermos flasks before dashing home to catch 'The Archers' at 7. In Europe, the defeat of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and the election of centrist Emmanuel Macron in France shows that, perhaps, the seemingly unstoppable anti - establishment, right wing, populist forces are not as dangerous as once feared.
One would be wrong to assume that, and wrong to assume that a return to centre ground politics is the solution.
Possibly the most contentious part of this discussion is that in my title, what I refer to as 'the far right' is embodied in 'the Conservative Party'. I refer to the Conservative Party as the far right for that is what it is. To describe it thus is to give an accurate description of its policy, ideology, and rhetoric, no longer hidden by its title, one which is so instantly recognisable and acceptable.
And the Tory party is the far right. UKIP voters have flocked to it as it pledges to slash immigration, make immigrants pay more for the NHS, and promising to reduce Asylum claims to the UK. Of course, such talk is hardly new, but it has been fuelled by nastier and more vicious rhetoric than ever before - from Amber Rudd wanting to force companies to register how many foreigners they employ in a bid to stop migrants 'taking jobs', to David Davies suggesting that child refugees have dental checks to verify their age. The party does not want to raise income tax, and wants to cut cooperate tax to 17%, yet will slash public services in a bid to cut a deficit that has only risen since they came to power in 2010.
All of this undercut by 'strong and stable leadership', Theresa May's bid to jump on the bandwagon of strong leaders along with Trump, Putin, and Kim Jung Un. Strong and stable does seem like a strange way to describe a woman who lurches from being the Ice Queen of Narnia to a Runaway train, but it appears to be working. Of course, this has been helped by the few bones she proposes feeding to the masses in a bid to attract New Labour voters, such as a proposed slight raise in the living wage, although her 'Economy that works for everyone' (I still can't write that without laughing) seems like a thin veil for ultra-nationalistic hard Conservatism.
Based, almost entirely, on the fact that Jeremy Corbyn's fashion is hardly 'on point', it is inevitable that middle class professionals and a good swathe of young students who believe that their exam results are entirely due to hard work rather than accidents of birth will drift towards the Liberal Democrats, a suitable cross over between free markets and welfare, an advocate for human rights (or so they claim) and, above all, epitomising that recognisable, non-radical, comforting politics that has taken such a hit over the last year or so.
Rather than being a vote for a return to political normality and supposed rationality, a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for Theresa May's far right agenda. It is a party which, with the Tories, introduced crippling austerity measures, raised tuition fees, and created a catastrophic humanitarian disaster in Libya. But, going deeper, it epitomises an ideology which creates the economic and social circumstances within which the far right can thrive. Its belief in unregulated free markets creating unemployment and disillusionment at home, and horrific exploitation and misery abroad (human rights, clearly, don't exist for everyone). It's belief in the utter primacy of the individual shattering community cohesion, its model of globalism one geared towards the interests of the wealthy and the powerful, a model which has led to huge disconnection and disenfranchisement, feelings that really came to the surface during the Brexit referendum.
When we survey the geo -political landscape of today, with the May's and the Trumps and the La Pen's, we must remind ourselves that they are the physical manifestations of the will of a people suffering from vast economic inequalities and deeply divided. It is surely factual to argue that politics, in its many forms, shapes our world, and it is equally factual to state that the dominant political force of the last twenty five years has been liberalism. It is a project that has failed miserably.
Your vote for the Liberal Democrats on the 8th of June is not a rejection of the divisive politics of today, but an endorsement of the politics that have created it. Your vote for the Liberal Democrats on the 8th of June is not one that can win an election, but one that will only serve to strengthen the Theresa May against the Labour Party, the only party capable of beating the right.
From all the media hype, one could be led to believe that the Labour Party 2017 Manifesto is comparable to 'Das Kapital'. It is, in fact, a fairly moderate program of social democracy, that will, I believe, start to change Britain for the better - more fairer, more tolerant, more equal. It is the only policy direction capable of defeating the far right for good, and Labour is the only party electorally capable of beating the Tories - and we need to beat them, if there is to be any hope for our public services, for our working and environmental rights, and for our national humanity. Lose, and we risk all those things, as well as seeing yet another shift in political discourse towards the right, as major parties seek to appease the whims of an exploited people. To vote Liberal is to endorse the right, to help the right, and to subdue the left - the only direction our country can afford to take.