#NewMembersDay: A Liberal Democrat Reading List

I, famously, don’t write for Lib Dem Voice. But on a day like today, how could I not? Apparently, there are like ten thousand of you guys now. Welcome! Genuinely, really, welcome. In order to help you acclimatise to the culture of the party there’s a few things you ought to be reading. A version of this was originally posted on my blog, and this one has been amended to reflect the comments there as well as my original post. YAY crowdsourcing!

The back of your membership card* is the first and most important thing for you to read as a new Lib Dem. The front will have some sort of pretty picture on it, and your name, and your membership number. The back will say on it:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

which is an extract from our Constitution and is something that is graven on most of our hearts. Regardless of the fact that I have recently called for a constitutional convention, and I genuinely think that we should rebuild from the ground up (hopefully with your help), the idea that the words “no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity” won’t be a part of whatever comes out of that process is unconscionable.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. You can read this online, but my favourite version** is this 1912 edition which also contains two more of Mill’s essays – on running the government and on feminism – and an Introduction by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. You might be a bit put off the idea of reading a dry work of Victorian philosophy, but I promise you, it’s worth it. If you really can’t bear all that beautiful Victorian verbiage, though, there is a Spark Notes for On Liberty*** too.

The Liberator Songbook. You can buy a copy here and there are some extracts online here, for example, or here. You don’t have to attend Glee Club at conference – and indeed, many Lib Dems look upon it with total embarrassment – but a read of the songbook will give you an idea of the culture of the party. We like to extract the urine. We extract the urine out of ourselves, each other, other political parties, the political system, and ourselves all over again. Often with swearing. I suspect The 12 Days of Coalition will be sung with great fervour in Bournemough this September, as will Losing Deposits.

The Electoral Reform Society’s Guide to Voting Systems. The one thing everybody knows about the Lib Dems is that we are in favour of “PR”, and so non-Lib Dems will often ask you to justify your position on this****. Most people don’t know what PR is. Most people think we had a referendum on PR in the last parliament. We didn’t, we had a referendum on AV, which is not a proportional system. You, as a new Lib Dem, are going to get asked about “PR” a lot. Familiarising yourself with the various voting systems is probably a plan. The favoured system of the Electoral Reform Society, The Liberal Democrats, and myself is Single Transferable Vote, which is known everywhere else in the world as The British Proportional System, because we invented it. We like it because it gives the most power to voters. We use STV for all internal elections, and it’s in use in various parts of the UK and internally in other political parties, but not yet for general elections. If you are pushing for proportional representation, please specify that we want STV, not nebulous “PR”.

There are lots and lots of other things you can read as a Lib Dem. An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell is one I would fully recommend; I am very fond of The Journal of Liberal History; many people would recommend the free back issues of Liberator magazine, or The Theory and Practice of Community Politics for the localism angle, or Progress and Poverty by Henry George for another shot of Victoriana; and I’m sure the people in the comments here will have many many more recommendations… but I would say the four I have listed above are the absolute essentials. If you want an ongoing reading list, punctuated by pretty wordles, I can genuinely recommend Lib Dems Believe on tumblr, which curates content from blogs, books, videos and all sorts.

Many people in the comments to my original post also made suggestions as to things you should not bother reading, mostly because they will give you incorrect ideas. These included anything written about us in the mainstream media (often hilariously ill-informed), The Orange Book (really, actually, incredibly dull), and “anything by Jeremy Browne” (who was much more convincing when he had a beard). While I would agree with all those suggestions you’re a Lib Dem now, and free to make your own decisions about what to avoid. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you 😉 I’d also share Richard’s recommendion from the comments on my original post that you avoid any manifesto or policy document unless your kinks veer that way or you’re sleepy, although speaking personally I quite like policy documents*****.

Anyway, I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you don’t find any of the reading too taxing, and most of all I hope you enjoy being a Lib Dem and come to conference. I’ll be the one with the purple****** hair drinking real ale, or possibly a gin and tonic, in the bar. Do come and say hello, and give me your reading suggestions. Aside from Lib Demmery I’m very fond of scifi and horror.


* when it arrives, which will probably take a while because there are a lot to produce and the new ones are actually quite fancy
** I like this edition so much that I keep giving it to people as a present 😉
*** The bit most often cited by Lib Dems is The Harm Principle: “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” – we often discuss the implications and applications of it, but few of us don’t think it is a guiding principle.
**** You are now a Lib Dem, therefore most people will assume that you are both expert on and in agreement with everything the party puts out. This can be deeply frustrating, especially because we’re really not like that. We have (sometimes quite heated) disagreements on policy, sometimes just for fun. If you go for candidate selection, one of the questions you will be asked is “is there any part of party policy with which you disagree, and if so why?” If your answer is “no, I agree with all of it” you will be looked upon with deep suspicion. The erstwhile commander in chief of LDV the Lovely Caron and I have had absolutely blazing rows about policy and I’m proud to call her one of my best friends. We take the whole not being enslaved by conformity thing very seriously.
***** I’m weird like that.
****** or blue. Or pink. Or maybe another bright unnatural colour.

* Jennie Rigg is an award winning Liberal Democrat blogger who blogs at Secure the unlimited rice pudding

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69 Comments

  • Liberal Crusader 13th May '15 - 1:58pm

    Liberalism by Hobhouse too. It’s a short work.

  • James Moore 13th May '15 - 2:00pm

    Thanks for this – had people asking for a reading list before they joined and I can now send them this link 🙂

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th May '15 - 2:10pm

    I actually think that this is useful for all members. Thanks, Jennie.

  • “Henry George for another shot of Victoriana”?

    More like Henry George for an explanation of the most important reform never carried through and the very centre of liberalism still today 🙂

    (or, for easier reading, ALTER’s own tribute to the People’s Budget from 2009 – audio at http://jockcoats.me/static-pages/case_new_peoples_budget print version from http://www.libdemsalter.org.uk/ )

  • Thanks for the positive comments, all 🙂

  • “M any people in the comments to my original post also made suggestions as to things you should not bother reading, mostly because they will give you incorrect ideas. These included anything written about us in the mainstream media (often hilariously ill-informed), The Orange Book (really, actually, incredibly dull), and “anything by Jeremy Browne” (who was much more convincing when he had a beard). ”

    This cannot go unchallenged.

    We are liberals precisely because we do not believe in a prescriptive orthodoxy and anyone who believes you can be given “incorrect ideas” (Thought Crime anyone?) by the act of reading widely cannot subscribe to the preamble.

    My advice is read as widely as possible and use your reactions to shape your own thinking; there is no “correct” answer, only the endless possibilities created by being challenged and finding your own path.

  • The assumption that all 10,000 members are totally new to the party is surely incorrect. I can’t be the only person who has been waiting for Nick Clegg to resign so that I can rejoin.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 13th May '15 - 3:00pm

    Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty” is another good, manageably short, read.*

    For a flavour of the, er, unusual atmosphere of a campaign, I’d suggest Hunter S Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972”. I’d also suggest reading things from people who genuinely value freedom but come at it from a different angle from mainstream, modern Lib Dems. I’d recommend Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” in that context – I’m not saying to agree with it necessarily, but to understand the perspective.

    * This gives me a chance to recall that I knew some medical students who treated Isaiah Berlin in his final days in Oxford. They knew he was a VIP but couldn’t quite place him initially. So, sadly (but not without its humour) the poor chap breathed his last cared for by people convinced he’d written “White Christmas”. Ah well.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 13th May '15 - 3:04pm

    BTW, I would slightly query how “liberal” a reading list is when it includes a list of things one ought not read and that contain “incorrect ideas”!!!

    I’d more suggest they are things to read carefully but to appreciate they come from a particular perspective.

  • @Gina Hill the ratio of totally new to returned members is 4 to 1 according to Austin Rathe.

  • TCO (& to some extent Sir Norfolk), if you’d only carried on ONE more sentence before exploding you’d have discovered that your point is already made in the body of the article.

    Joe & Jonathan, yes, I ought to read more Popper

  • Meral Hussein Ece 13th May '15 - 3:09pm

    Thanks Jennie. We should have this fact-sheet available to all members.

  • @Jennie I think the problem is even making the suggestion that you should avoid reading the Orange Book, or making the value judgement that it’s “incredibly dull”.

    Any advice on reading should say simply this is material that has shaped party policy and direction over the years – go and read it and see what you think.

    Given how much anti orange book comment there is on LDV the very least new members should do is be familiar with what it is that’s supposed to be do awful. Or perhaps there’s concern that the new members might agree with it?

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 13th May '15 - 3:17pm

    Jennie – to be clear, I’m not criticising you and realise that your article doesn’t tell people what not to read – that was others in response to your original post.

    Gina – an email from the party earlier indicated 82% of new members have never been members before and are genuinely new. Based on previous threads here, many come with some appreciation of some of what the Lib Dems did in Government, and with positive words about the outgoing leader. However, they are not hung up on the past and are firmly focused on securing a liberal voice in future – something we can all agree on and learn from. Whilst I regret you left a while ago and VERY much welcome you back, I’m tremendously excited about the majority joining for the FIRST time and for POSITIVE reasons.

  • Meral wow, that’s a great compliment, thank you. I think it’s possibly too irreverent in tone for a fact sheet, and all the links and footnotes would complicate things a bit on paper, but you’re welcome to try 🙂

  • TCO: the whole point of this was to be friendly and light hearted. Even if the orange book WAS an essential, which I don’t believe it is, or it’d still be in print, it’s not a light hearted book for beginners. You need to understand the lib dems before you read the orange book, and it won’t help you in coming to an understanding of the party to read it early on.

    Added to that I wholeheartedly disagree that a reading list should not involve value judgements. In my view the existence of a reading list is a value judgement in and of itself.

    And lastly, anyone who is actually going to fit in as a lib dem would go and pick up anything they are advised not to bother reading on principle anyway, just to argue with whoever is advising them.

  • I kind of like T H Marshall’s “Citizenship and Social Class” too. Not terribly easy to get hold of, unless you get an abridged version in a compendium of some kind. But here’s an online version: http://users.dickinson.edu/~mitchelk/readings/marshall-citizenship-and-social-class.pdf

    There. I’ll bet nobody expected me to recommend Marshall! Needless to say I think his theories can be reconciled with small state, low tax ideas as well, so long as you collect and use rent instead of taxes on production 🙂

  • Bill le Breton 13th May '15 - 3:51pm

    For something so fresh it is still warm: http://www.alexsarchives.org/2015/05/liberalism-redux/

    In it, and after an HT to Nick Barlow of above, Alex writes:

    “… at the root of liberalism is a concern for power. And it is about seeking to achieve equality for all – equality of opportunity. It is about challenging entrenched power wherever it is found – whether the state, the church, private sector monopolies, or unaccountable European bureaucrats. Entrenched and unchecked power is problematic because it means that the voices of some count for more than the voices of others – that society is ordered for the benefit of the few and not for all. Entrenched power is problematic because it erects obstacles to each and every person achieving their potential; obstacles to allowing each and every person to live their life autonomously and authentically. It is only by removing those obstacles will we achieve a genuinely free and open society.

    “It is a noble aspiration, and an urgent mission.

    “The Liberal Democrat slogan for the General Election was “Stronger Economy, Fairer Society”. Somewhere along the line the subtitle “Opportunity for all” was appended. In many respects this slogan suffered from all the afflictions of modern politics. On its own it is pretty meaningless. However, if we take the subtitle seriously and think through its implications the notion of “opportunity for all” is in fact both profound and pregnant with possibility.”

    And then this practical observation:

    “Liberalism was, is, and hopefully always will be a radical vision for society. But it more about the process than the destination. Liberalism is a restless energy. A restless energy to overcome the forces pushing for privilege and partiality. A restless energy directed at preserving a plural society.”

    Haven’t read anything better than that since Conrad passed away.

    A Liberal must be constantly campaigning. We campaign because Freedom requires constant vigilance – eternal vigilance.

  • Bill, you’re right, that’s gorgeous 🙂

    I just had this recommended to me on twitter too: http://t.co/v9J2SGQZqw – it opens a .pdf of the report into liberal democracy Alan Beith did. It’s very good.

  • Thanks for the info on new vs returning – very interesting! I will heave myself off to Jurassic Park where I clearly belong 😉

  • Bill le Breton 13th May '15 - 4:01pm

    Will read that tonight Jenny. It rings a bell.

  • A Social Liberal 13th May '15 - 4:08pm

    Gina

    Don’t worry, even with the figures there are 2000 Lib Dems returning after Cleggs resignation !

  • Gina, nooooo, Jurassic Park is rubbish! Westworld is MUCH better for … You’re not talking about Michael Crichton pulp scifi are you?

  • (also Jock, thank you, that does genuinely look v interesting)

  • Brilliant, Jennie, but you didn’t mention Doctor Who

  • A book that really inspired me in my student days and which I always felt was in the mainstream of Liberal thinking (although not written by a confessed Liberal) is Small is Beautiful” by E.F Schumacher (and the sequel “Good Work”) These are perhaps Utopian visions but they express something about how society should be bottom-up, not top-down which still speaks to me very strongly

  • I hope no new member is put off by the extensive reading list in jennie Rigg’s article. There is more than one influence that helps to explain what our party is about not just books.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Jennie Rigg’s article is brilliant and over the decades I have read most of what she recommends, but some of us are perhaps instinctive Liberals who get our information and form our views in ways other than reading.

    When I first joined the party I had not read any of these books. I did read the then preamble to the Liberal Party constitution and the Liberal Democrat version is almost as good.

    I had watched Dr Who. I had also liked John Arlott’s cricket commentaries.
    I had seen a number of films – for example the excellent ‘To kill a mockingbird’ — I went on to read the book later.

    For my generation music was also influential — everything from Joan Baez singing ‘With God on Our Side, CSNY’s ‘Teach Your Children’, John Lennon’s ‘Power to the people’, and of course ‘Won’t get fooled again’ by The Who.

    I cannot hear ‘We shall overcome’ without feeling and knowing exactly what I understand about being a member of this party .

    So if I was to recommend a book it would be ‘The Liberator Song Book’.

    Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand?

  • Mary: I was trying to be good. I’m not good at being good. Did I do it wrong?

    Oh John Tilley, come on, four things, one of which is the back of your membership card? That’s not TOO extensive, surely?

  • Although, that said, Daisy Benson has started a fabulous collaborative playlist in Spotify, to which many of us have added what we see as inspirational songs: http://open.spotify.com/user/daisybenson/playlist/32xN4AgFt7SttrsJVYVmsl if yours aren’t on there already, perhaps you could add some more?

  • “Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand?” – because we’ve not tried very hard recently to live up to the message of the song 🙂

  • Jennie
    Sorry – I understand vinyl and CDs and can even call up music on my iPad.

    But I have not graduated to ‘Spotify’ . 🙂

  • Duncan Brack 13th May '15 - 6:00pm

    Jennie’s already mentioned the ‘Journal of Liberal History’, but the Liberal Democrat History Group also publishes a range of reference books, including ‘Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011’ – the best single-volume history of the party yet available.

    For those looking for something shorter, we also publish four booklets – two on Liberal Leaders, one on Liberal women (‘Mothers of Liberty’) and one on Liberal Thinkers. All available, for very reasonable prices, from http://www.liberalhistory.org.uk/product-category/books/.

    We also have a short reading list, for people interested in more background on Liberal history. Our website’s being reconstructed at the moment, so it’s not up – I will try and rectify this ASAP, but if anyone wants one, feel free to email me at [email protected].

    Duncan Brack (Editor, Journal of Liberal History)

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore

    “I’d recommend Milton Friedman’s ‘Capitalism and Freedom’ in that context”

    I think ‘the road to surfdom’ is a better expression of the train of thought.

  • Thanks Duncan, your comment on my original piece came after I submitted this or I would have edited you in too

  • Duncan Brack 13th May '15 - 7:00pm

    Thanks. I should have been faster off the mark!

  • Maybe, but in historical terms, you were lightning 😉

  • @Duncan Brack

    Are new, hardback copies of Peace, Reform and Liberation still available for purchase?

  • Can’t agree more with ‘On Liberty’ Jennie. The others are good choices too.

    Would also add ‘Why I am not a Conservative’ by FA Hayek. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but does well to illuminate the difference of opinion between classic liberal and conservative views on politics, especially regarding economic matters.

    You can find a copy here: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/articles/hayek-why-i-am-not-conservative.pdf

    Re The Orange Book – I actually really enjoyed that, particularly the chapters by Vince Cable (“Liberal economics and social justice”) and Mark Oaten (“Tough Liberalism: a liberal approach to cutting crime”). It’s probably a read for those who are quite interested in how liberal thinking can be applied in the policy space, as it’s rather specific. But I think getting a good sense of how liberal ideas can flow into rather radical policy is useful!

  • Simon McGrath 14th May '15 - 7:04am

    Popper’s ‘The Open Society and its enemies’ should be read by everyone at some point.

  • Ed Shepherd 14th May '15 - 7:35am

    Advocate of “freedom”, FA Hayek, supported brutal, murderous totalitarian regimes such as Pinochet’s. This might be worth bearing in mind when reading his books.

  • I think that the introduction to the Orange Book has been hugely influential; the main chapters of the book vary hugely in quality and don’t actually work through the scheme laid out in that introduction. I’ve read it, and “Orange Booker” certainly doesn’t mean “people who agree with the policy scheme in the Orange Book”, but rather “people who agree with the political philosophy laid out in the introduction to the Orange Book” (which, as I said, the contents of the Orange Book largely don’t agree with). For that reason, I’d suggest reading the introduction, but not the whole book… and that doesn’t particularly suggest a good item for a reading list.

  • Simon McGrath 14th May '15 - 10:03am

    John – thanks for the link on Popper. Pleased to hear you are a fan as well.

  • Simon
    I hope I did not mislead you — I thought Popper was a reactionary Conservative as the NY Times Obituary that I provided a link to points out.

    I assumed you had mentioned the works of Popper as something for Liberal Democrats to read and beware of not because you were a fan. As one of the inspirations for Thatcherite Conservatism of the 1980s he does not seem an obvious hero for anŷ type of Liberal Democrat looking to rebuild our party.

    I expect there are lots of fans of Popper in UKIP and the Conservative Party.

  • whoruleswhere 14th May '15 - 11:28am

    I’d strongly recommend some Amartya Sen, particularly his essay “Equality of what?”

    There are many in the Lib Dems who think that liberals should be above left-right politics (“not left or right but liberal”), there are yet others who believe that liberalism is incompatible with left wing thinking, they are essentially libertarians, and they believe that freedom also includes freedom to spend your own money how you best see fit.

    For me Sen refutes both these arguments as bogus. He points out that freedom isn’t freedom if you are enslaved by poverty, The freedom to follow the sole path available towards a tolerable quality of life is no freedom at all. He advances a liberal argument for greater equality: not quite economic equality but not mere equality of opportunity either. Instead he advances the idea of equality of capabilities, based upon the work of the Government of Kerela. Equality of capabilities is about making freedom meaningful, it’s about making freedom the freedom to actually shape your life, not just the freedom to live it in drudgery.

    It’s a powerful argument that has won me over to the point where I now find liberalism to be incompatible with right or centre economic thinking.

  • Duncan Brack 14th May '15 - 12:40pm

    ATF – yes, new copies of ‘Peace, Reform and Liberation’ can be ordered direct from the History Group at http://www.liberalhistory.org.uk/product-category/books/.

  • Duncan Brack 14th May '15 - 12:43pm

    These two books aren’t from the History Group, but I was part of the groups that put them together. Together with The Orange Book, they provide a pretty good overview of political thinking in the party over the last decade.

    Reinventing the State: Social Liberalism for the Twenty-First Century (2007) – a social-liberal alternative to The Orange Book.

    The Green Book: New Directions for Liberals in Government (2013) – see here: http://www.green-book.org.uk

  • The other “On Liberty”, by Shami Chakrabarti, is also a good read.

  • Some great recs here, guys, thank you. Amartya Sen sounds particularly interesting, and unlike most of the others, not one I’d come across before

  • @Duncan Brack

    Excellent – will order next week. May even treat myself to group membership.

  • Jim Forrest 14th May '15 - 4:57pm

    “The Blunders of our Governments” by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. Two of our most eminent politics professors detail more than a dozen policy disasters from the past four decades. All of them the work of governments with overall majorities. None of them imposed on us by Brussels (though a couple stem from our own cackhanded inplementation of measures beneficial elsewhere in the European Union). Theresa May is already at work on the next one.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th May '15 - 9:49am

    Ed Shepherd

    Advocate of “freedom”, FA Hayek, supported brutal, murderous totalitarian regimes such as Pinochet’s. This might be worth bearing in mind when reading his books.

    Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is a great improvement on most of his later work. He followed the same path as any ideologues on the left – an initial set of challenging ideas put together with passion and which certainly needed to be thought about, but as time went by and his ideas made him a person of influence he became more rigid, just repeating himself, lacking any sense of self-criticism, and not seeing how his ideas didn’t work out quite as well in practice as they did in theory.

    Hayek’s early stuff was necessary when it was a common assumption that a movement towards state socialism was inevitable and the only question was how fast it was to be done. What we now need is the equivalent challenge to what is the dominant ideology of now and the assumptions that “modernisation” means embracing it, and we have to do that as it is inevitable, and that ideology is the one Hayek pushed. That is, Hayek and his followers now are the sort of people Hayek wrote against.

    So I would certainly put The Road to Serfdom as essential liberal reading, but I would also say with this as with any passionate work of ideology, a liberal attitude to it must involve the ability to be critical of it.

    I would also like to recommend something from the Distributist movement, which had more influence than many realise on the survival of the Liberal Party in the middle of the 20th century. Free market types would probably recommend Belloc’s The Servile State, which Hayek acknowledges as an influence. I think I will actually suggest people look at G.K.Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, as one way to get a different perspective. The Chesterbelloc these days has largely been captured by right-wing Catholics who emphasise those aspects, but there are some real liberal insights in much of their writing, and as with Hayek the earlier stuff is better.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th May '15 - 9:56am

    Oh, and Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, obviously.

  • Can I add the writings of the late Simon Titley as being well worth reading – irreverent, cogent, deeply thoughtful, liberal and often fun.

    Some links form his obituary here: http://liberator-magazine.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/simon-titley-has-passed-away.html

  • I would suggest,
    ‘How trade shaped the world’ . William Bernstein
    ‘Flat earth news’ . Nick Davies
    ‘The Blank Slate’ . Steven Pinker

  • Ed Shepherd 15th May '15 - 6:24pm

    “just repeating himself, lacking any sense of self-criticism, and not seeing how his ideas didn’t work out quite as well in practice as they did in theory.” Quite an understatement. Von Hayek’s ideas led him and his fans to support regimes that killed thousands of people.

  • Keith Redwood 15th May '15 - 7:47pm

    I’m reading Edmund Fawcett’s ‘Liberalism; the Life of an Idea’ at the moment. It is long, and a bit academic in style but as an overview of the major liberal thinkers in Europe and the USA it is fascinating. It outlines the classic liberal dilemma of needing to be IN power on order to RESIST power amongst other things. I haven’t read it all yet so if you have please don’t tell me ‘whodunnit’ (my money’s on the maid – the butler is too obvious!!)

  • I’m a bit late to this but I would add James Meade: The Intelligent Radical’s Guide to Economic policy. to fill the gap in the list on modern Keynsian thinking which used to be mainstream in our party…..

  • Andrew Chamberlain 17th May '15 - 6:04pm

    +1 for The Servile State by Hilaire Belloc. Should be required reading for any modern liberal and not really right wing at all given that it implies a massive redistribution of wealth.

    Also, David Laws’ introduction to The Orange Book played a vital role in getting the party talking about liberalism again. That’s an achievement that should be celebrated.

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