In one sense there are very many socialists in Britain. The number of people is not small who believe that all right resides in the state, that making something legal makes it moral, that the state can dissolve marriages, that the state can redefine marriage, that failing to tax is a ‘gift’ to the group in question, that discontinuing subsidy is a ‘tax’. Yet socialism in the old sense of simply desiring a large state for the sake of it is grossly over represented in the House of Commons. This is simply because the Labour party is, for historic reasons, one of the two main parties. Logically the Liberals should have returned to their position as the centre-left party in British politics. Instead they are dancing on the edge of annihilation. What must be most frustrating for Mr Farron is that he is left with remnant so small that he lacks the opportunity to speak when anyone is listening. He comes across rather as one of those talented Byzantine Emperors who do rather well but just don’t have the scale anymore to consolidate their gains and so seem vainly to thrash against the tide. Still, if Labour backbenchers (or frontbenchers for that matter) can’t get rid of Jeremy Corbyn there may still be some hope for the Liberals.