Journalists love to make things simple. They have usually have not got much time to get a point across to their viewers or readers, so nice straightforward ideas appeal. Which is probably why they like to talk about the leadership election in terms of left and right. The problem with useing this as a way to describe the race is that it is not just a simplification but a complete misrepresentation.
Take these comments from the supposedly 'left' wing candidate, Chris Huhne: “I have always been in the private sector and I started a business and built it up. I understand all the difficulties self-employed business people have, because I have been there and done that.”
A Liberal Democrat party under his leadership, he said, would stress the importance of “cutting red tape and keeping the tax burden on people striving for success as low as possible”.
Hardly Bennite is it?
I am not trying to suggest that there is no difference between Chris and Nick because there is. What I would say about them is that there is no ideological gulf between them. This is no Healey vs Benn or even Brown vs McDonnell contest. Rather what seperates Cleggites and Huhnies is more like the difference between Blairites and Brownities (though with less personal animosity). They disagree less on policy and far more on style and emphasis.
Liberal Democrats are not tottally united but neither are we irrevocably divided, in the way that talking about left and right implies.
Hat tip: Lib dems for Chris