Martin Bright

An Important Election Intervention from the Left-Wing Intelligentsia

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The letter in support of the Lib Dems in today's Guardian was a brave intervention from Richard Reeves, John Kampfner and a group of prominent figures from left-liberal Britain. It is all too easy to dismiss such interventions as the actions of the usual suspects addicted to writing to the papers to remind themselves of their own sense of importance.

But this marks a real shift of the intellectual centre of gravity on the left. The letter ends:

"The question is where the energy for the future of progressive politics is to be found. It is a contemporary political fact that the stronger the performance of the Liberal Democrats on 6 May the better the chances of progressive reform.

The Liberal Democrats are today's change-makers. They have already changed the election; next they could drive fundamental change in our political and economic landscape.

Some of us have already pinned our colours to the Liberal Democrat mast. For others, the decision to back the Liberal Democrats in this election is a difficult one. Long-standing party loyalties, even in a less tribal world, are not easily suspended. But May 2010 offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape politics for the better. It must be seized."

Most readers of The Spectator won't much care about this, but the Labour Party has lost some significant intellectual firepower here.