Liberator subscribers have just received the latest edition of Liberator magazine (issue no.348 – September 2011). For those of you who are not yet subscribers, here’s a summary of the contents:
- The editorial column Commentary contrasts Nick Clegg’s pre-election prediction of riots with the situation now. There is also criticism of the declining proportion of time allocated to policy motions at party conference.
- The insider gossip column Radical Bulletin begins with an exposé of a ‘policy and strategy’ document prepared by Nick Clegg’s adviser Richard Reeves.
- ‘Cut the cringe’ – Matthew Oakeshott (former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman in the House of Lords) argues that it’s time for the government to stand up to Britain’s selfish rich and get rid of tax loopholes.
- ‘The unexplored and the unexplained’ – Ed Randall (a senior lecturer in politics and social policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, and chair of Greenwich Borough Liberal Democrats) says that the ‘Facing the Future’ working group has come up with a descriptive document that fails to give the Liberal Democrats the political ammunition they need.
- ‘Once more with feeling’ – Simon Titley (a member of the Liberator Collective) finds that two recently published statements of Liberal Democrat values (‘Facing the Future’ and ‘Freedom, Liberty and Fairness’) seem to have been written as an academic exercise and consequently lack a sense of humanity, morality or passion.
- ‘Turn a mirror on ourselves’ – Claire Tyler (a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords) argues that the riots sprang from complex factors including social exclusion and misbehaviour by those at the top, so the last thing needed is knee-jerk responses.
- ‘Learn from this riot’ – Brian Haley (a former Labour councillor in Haringey before joining the Liberal Democrats in 2010, who recently sought the London mayoral nomination) reports that very little has changed in Tottenham in the 26 years between its riots.
- ‘Back to basics’ – David Boyle (a member of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Policy Committee and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation) says that the recent riots should warn Liberals to distinguish between fake liberalism and real liberalism.
- ‘Orange, blue and green’ – Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) says that the government is delivering on Liberal Democrat environmental policies but that the party may need to consider its position on nuclear power.
- ‘Propping up the bad guys’ – Is that all the coalition amounts to? Perhaps, when Liberal Democrats have lost the ability and willingness to make their own policy, says David Hall-Matthews (chair of the Social Liberal Forum).
- ‘Time for Plan C’ – Prateek Buch (an executive member of the Social Liberal Forum) suggests that, since the government’s Plan A isn’t reviving the economy and Labour’s Plan B is very similar, we should try Plan C.
- ‘War on drugs, not on users’ – Ewan Hoyle (founder of Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform) argues that the drugs policy motion to this month’s party conference offers a serious alternative to the futile ‘war on drugs’.
- ‘Baptism of fire’ – Becky Tinsley (founder of the human rights group Waging Peace) reports that South Sudan, the world’s newest independent state, has been born amid a border conflict the west neglected to settle, threats from North Sudan and repression at home.
- ‘Angry MPs in press probe shocker – Adrian Sanders (Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay and a member of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport) argues that the degeneration of the press into celebrity entertainment has robbed the public of the ability to influence governments, but that the phone hacking scandal is an opportunity to reverse this.
- ‘Unmade case’ – Michael Meadowcroft (a Leeds City councillor for 15 years and Liberal MP for Leeds West 1983-87) says that all kinds of pernicious nonsense will infect politics so long as liberals are parochial and afraid to argue for their own positions.
- ‘Don’t speak for England’ – Chris White (a member of the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Executive and Federal Policy Committee, and deputy leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat group) argues that the English party tier within the Liberal Democrats is undemocratic, pointless, self-important and divorced from campaigning realties, so it’s time to scrap it.
- Machiavelli’s revenge’ – John Stevens (a former Conservative MEP who joined the Liberal Democrats in 2001) warns that the eurozone crisis will soon force Britain to make a stark choice and that this is an opportunity for Liberal Democrats to reassert their values.
- Obituary – Liz Rorison.
- Book reviews – including the new biography of Liberal MP Richard Wainwright.
- Lord Bonkers’ Diary – in which Lord Bonkers (Liberal MP for Rutland South West 1906-10) looks forward to the party conference in Birmingham.
Note that, unlike in previous years, we’ve mailed out this conference edition of the magazine rather than distribute it to subscribers at party conference. But fear not! There’ll still be a Liberator stall in Birmingham, where you can buy or renew your annual subscription, purchase the new edition of the Liberator Songbook, or purchase single copies of the magazine.
If you missed any of our previous editions, they are available online here.
The Liberator Collective may be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org