If you believe the hype from those that kill it is said that the first time you do it is the hardest, the second time is much much easier. This is certainly true in the political world it seems where Cowley Street became the crime scene of yet another gang land stabbing incident in the capital. There was no hesitation, no mild stab in the stomach causing the victim to slowly bleed to death. No. This time it was a swift injection of steel into the base of the neck driving upwards. Dare I say it was textbook commando stuff?
The obvious question now is where next for the Lib Dems? Do they go Left or Right? They're biggest problem is that so many of them fail to realise that much of their success in the last election stemmed not from being a viable alternative but because they opposed the war in Iraq. That war, whether ongoing or not is no longer the potent political message of the day.
Meanwhile many of the votes they picked up were anti-Blair Labour voters. The polls, so the argument goes are now showing the Tories picking up Lib Dem votes. This is, I think, only partly true. The two main parties are in fact simply taking their votes back. The Lib Dems are not losing Lib Dems they're losing the people that floated over to them because they were either (a) Labour haters of Blair, or (b) still thinking the Tories were not presenting anything new. In both these circumstances the game has now changed.
The 1990s and early naughties have been a political aberration in the two party system. The third party's apparent success has been based not on principled political ideas but on general disaffection with traditional allegiances. The Lib Dems, whichever direction they go in, will not likely recover, or achieve any greater success nationally. Locally may be a different matter.
The two front runner choices pose significant problems though. If they go Right then their inevitable social liberalism will not appeal to many traditional Conservative voters, whilst their economic liberalism will keep the Labour voters away. If they go Left then they can kiss goodbye to disaffected Tories, whilst what Labour votes they might gain would easily be lost due to tribalistic fear of the Tories winning power.
In short for the Lib Dems, the future is not bright, and it definitely isn't yellow.