Left Watch

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Lib Dem President Tim Farron says Thatcherism amounted to "organised wickedness"

Tim Montgomerie

THATCHER 1979 According to the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg the President of the Liberal Democrats also likened the Thatcher years to "sustained slavery". This is juvenile stuff and leaves no higher rhetorical gear for real outrages.

It is of course panic in the Lib Dem ranks. Farron's colleague Tavish Scott - leader of the Lib Dems in Scotland - said that the Coalition had prevented Cameron from "burning Scotland at the stake".

The Lib Dems are facing a disastrous set of Scottish, Welsh and local election results next week. It should be noted however that these are the most testing set of elections the Lib Dems are likely to face in this parliament. All the big left-leaning electorates (including Sheffield and Newcastle) are voting in this cycle and these are the electorates which have deserted Clegg in greatest numbers. Add in the AV vote - where Yes is trailing by up to 18% - and the first electoral test for the Lib Dems-in-Coalition are the worst test. Next year it's Boris v Ken and the Lib Dems will be a sideshow. When the next county councils are elected there is actually limited scope for some recovery for Britain's third party.

> Read Matthew Barrett's list from Monday on other Lib Dem attacks on the Tories. We won't update it yet. I suspect the Lib Dems haven't finished rallying their base yet, nor positioning themselves for the battle to succeed Clegg.

> Norman Tebbit at 4.15pm: How dare a Lib Dem nonentity accuse the Thatcher government of 'organised wickedness'