The Liberal Party is in trauma. The corporate sector is attempting to calm its nerves, and even the victors in the Labor Party cannot quite believe the seismic change in the landscape of power. But the ramifications of last Saturday may be much greater than just one election won or lost. In a way that seems unthinkable to us now, 2007 may mark the end of the Liberal Party itself. It won’t happen overnight, but just watch it happen.
We are so conditioned to the idea that two main parties define politics, we even call them left and right as if they were parts of our body. But parties spring up in response to the primary tensions in a certain time and place. In the 20th century that polarisation was capital versus labour. A century earlier, before even the idea of power among the working poor, politics was aristocrats versus tradesmen, the growing middle class of shopkeepers and artisans that formed the basis of the Tories.