You are putting your point very well, much better than my disjointed thoughts below. I would however ask you to comment on:
a) why it was that the Labour Party didn’t support the Constitutional Reforms proposed in the last Parliament – was it solely fear of the Boundary Reforms that would have followed? If so, it was a self-interest (shared by both major parties) that has rebounded on them most seriously as they see their share of the vote not be reflected in seats.
b) the fear/punish thing from a different perspective, being …
LibDems in constituencies where the Conservatives were in second place had a very poor defence against the argument – “you might as well vote for us, we’re the same thing now?”, and
LibDems in constituencies where Labour was in second place – “you have to vote for us to get rid of the Tories”
… that’s why the “punish” argument has validity. I can’t see a coalition with a minor party ever again until proportional representation is enacted.
c) just a reminder that it was Beveridge (a Liberal) who was the architect of the Welfare State. Getting a bit fed-up with Labour claiming all the credit for “our NHS”. Please also don’t forget Lloyd George’s introduction of a National Insurance scheme.
With the Tories now able to introduce Boundary changes and gain 20 seats as a result, I fear for all of us. The irony is of course that the devolved parliaments DO have PR!! So England is now destined to be a Conservative nation.
Labour need/must reform. Electoral pacts with the LibDems should be considered. we’ve been there before of course.
Labour will only ever win if they are left of centre, not left – there’s an interesting map from Vaughan Roderick – https://twitter.com/VaughanRoderick/status/596967966647971840 – showing the graphical correlation between coalfields and labour seats post-2015. There are not enough additional seats for them to win anymore, and this base is in decline as well.
You have, however, informed me about the “Orange Bookers” – something that I’d somehow missed completely – I have a facsimile copy (somewhere) of the original Yellow and Orange Books, I must try and find them.