Assuming Jackie Ashley is correct in her interpretation of Labour’s direction of travel, she has succeeded in making a convincing case for the continued existence of the Liberal Democrats as a progressive alternative.
For example, whereas Labour will focus on populist, but ultimately ineffective changes to the top rate of tax, Lib Dems are easing the income tax burden for the lowest paid workers.
Labour’s politically opportunist reversal of the Coalition’s NHS reforms, would presumably reintroduce the bias in favour of private healthcare providers that Liberal Democrats succeeded in reversing.
While Labour’s recipe for national renewal is about “changing the institutions people work in and rely on in their daily lives”, the Liberal Democrat approach is to empower people to make their own changes to the lives they lead and the public services they use.
The picture painted of Miliband’s Labour Party is one that is yearning for a return to the 1960s Wilsonian economic tinkering, albeit with more women and fewer smoked-filled rooms. The real and continued division between the philosophies of Britain’s two centre-left parties is that in their hearts Labour remain wedded to ‘top-down’ solutions, while Liberal Democrats trust people to take control of their own affairs.