If I was happy with the state of British politics I would not want to change it.
There has been a long history of two party politics in Britain. whether it was the "King's Party" versus the Puritans or the Whigs and the Tories, Liberals and Conservatives, and later Labour and Conservative, the tradition, indeed the very structure of the British Parliament is based on a division into two groups: Aye versus No.
The result was that British political parties have had to be large coalitions. Blairites and Communists coexist in Labour and Social Conservatives and Libertarians coexist amongst the Tories. Power alternates between two parties and they survive in power depending on the irritation factor of the electorate.
The pendulum of politics swings, and no one group achieves dominance- it was not a bad way to protect democracy. The problem is that the political duopoly has smothered ideas and genuine debate. The parties are afraid of dissent and can expel members who will not conform. There is no other way to take a direct role in the political process except through a party- there is but one independent in the House of Commons (though- as cross-benchers- more in the House of Lords).
Increasingly few people are prepared to accept the political compromises that the bi-party system requires. Membership of all political parties has fallen, and increasingly citizens have chosen to participate through single issue groups. For example, membership of the RSPB is greater than the combined membership of all political parties. Electoral participation rates have been in long term decline for decades.
So, the swing of the political pendulum, if that is what the recovery in the Conservatives turns out to be, may not be of such dramatic significance. The convergence of Labour and the Conservatives has created a bland homogeneity, where no voter feels threatened and neither Labour nor the Conservatives step to far away from the bland marketing bromides that pass for political slogans these days. So the replacement of Blair with Brown or even Cameron will not change that much.
The problem is that this gentle decay of politics is a threat to our freedoms. Democracy is under threat not yet from tyranny, but from indifference- and indifference which suits the party duopoly.
The electorate are not stupid: they know that much of the posturing of politicians is empty, and that they are powerless in the face of much that occurs. We listen to statements that demand action on a range of issues where politicians can not do anything, but no one points out that the Emperor has no clothes, they just don't bother to vote.
Liberal Democrats should not simply aim to replace on or another of the two parties on the pendulum. Our view of politics is in opposition to the zero-sum game of the two party system. We accept that there is greater diversity in political opinion than is allowed for in a straight Yes-No question. We believe that a coalition of different parties is no worse than the coalitions within parties and does at least have the advantage of honesty.
It is not enough to change the government, we must change the system of government, and unless we do then the political class - increasingly professionalised and based on marketing rather than philosophy- will become divorced from the citizens that it is supposed, ostensibly, to represent.
Liberal Democrats have got to speak out: our creed remains, "Trust in the people, tempered with prudence". Our political system now excludes the majority of citizens and can easily fall into decay- and in the vacuum irresponsible and dangerous demagogues may lurk.
The pendulum is no longer a sufficient guarantee of our liberties.