Opinion: Formulaic differentation of the Lib Dems?

In the never ending quest to differentiate the LibDems , I’ve developed the following formula for use in the pub on a Friday night, whilst chatting over the veg in the local shop, or wherever else the question arises (my previous longer-winded attempt on a beach is here):

Labour = social conscience plus authoritarianism

Lib Dems = social conscience minus control freakery and Conservatism = social conscience question mark.

The response so far has usually been:

I’ve never thought of it that way before.

Any other suggestions? One sentence, 25 words or under.

* Karen Wilkinson is a non-earning mother of three, parish councillor, deputy chair of Thornbury & Yate LibDems, Green Lib Dems exec member, and lead on a community energy project.

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22 Comments

  • Richard Dean 10th Dec '12 - 5:38pm

    Labour – we shall make everyone happy except the lazy good-for-nothing rich
    Tory – we shall make everyone happy except the lazy good-for-nothing poor
    LibDem – we shall take a vote on happiness, by PR, AV, XY, or … er, well, we’ll take a vote on how to count the vote!

  • If we’re talking centralised government then we’ve got, it is quite fuzzy, but I’ve tried my best to defuzzify:
    * Labour = economically central + socially central + authoritarian central
    * Conservatives = economically individually opportunistic + socially traditionalist + authoritarian centrally minimalist
    * Lib Dem = economically communal/distributive + social freedoms (human rights) + minimal-centralisation but with distributivism/community democracy
    * Green = Economically E.F. Schumacher + social freedoms (human rights) + minimal-centralisation but with community democracy
    * UKIP = economically individually opportunistic + socially modernist + minimal-centralisation and minimal-distributivist
    * BNP = economically communal but opportunistic + socially backwards + maximum central authoritarianism
    * CPB = economically communal + socially progressive + maximum central authoritarianist
    * Respect = economically communal (with hints of Schumacher) + socially progressive + maximum centralism and maximum communalism
    * SNP, Plaid Cymru & Mebyon Kernow = economically communal/distributive + social freedoms (human rights) + maximal distributivism/community democracy

    Of course, there is a bit of a difference between the elected officials and the general membership… but in general one doesn’t need to agree 100% with a party to be a member, it just needs to be the most in-line with your own wavelengths.

  • Labour*= The state is always good, whether it is borrowing or taxing more, while the markets are bad.
    Conservative= The state is always bad and the market is always good. (After all, God works through the market, doesn’t he?)
    Liberal Democrats = The state and the market both have a role to play depending on what you are talking about.

    * Post New Labour

  • Labour: The greater good- individual freedoms respected/granted once justified.
    LibDems: The free individual- liberties compromised for the greater good only when necessary.

    I think the differentation with the Tories is a good deal more obvious. It’s Labour vs. LibDems that confuses the public, and a large part of why the LibDems are given a bad rap, as they may be being expected to be “leftist” when that’s not necessarily the point. It’s too simplistic to call them either “left of Labour” or “between Labour and the Conservatives”. The main difference (as I see it) is the split of priorities on positive/negative liberties, the obvious authoritarian/socialist ideology that Labour has grown from , while LibDems are at least ostensibly supposed to start with the rights of the individual and compromise socially from that position (so ideologically liberal, or what might be called classical liberal/libertarian these days.) I think obviously bot h parties are in the centre-ground and so neither are ideologues per se…

  • Thank you everyone for reading and taking the time to comment.

    Dave, you’re obviously bang on the nail about the bigger difficulty in differentiating from Labour.
    Actually with Conservatives, many I know do have social consciences. What they are interested to learn about it the level of democracy within our party and how opaque their own is. Often they are very surprised – if not shocked – to hear of the difference between our parties even at a local level.

    So far, Richard (lol!), Simon and RC (have we met?) winning it for me so far – remember, I’ve got to pick my veg and move on before scaring a non-politico into thinking they’re going to be there all morning listening to a political diatribe that goes way over their head…

  • Simon Titley 10th Dec '12 - 8:38pm

    Liberals = “You’re all individuals!”

    Everybody else = “Fit in or f*** off.”

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Dec '12 - 10:44pm

    I’ve already thought about this in terms of the economic left and right.

    Left: compassionate
    Right: fair
    Centre: fair and compassionate

    Parties will place themselves proudly where they see fit.

  • Tony Dawson 11th Dec '12 - 7:20am

    @Richard Dean:

    “LibDem – we shall take a vote on happiness, by PR”,

    You are presumably not a pudendal surgeon? ;-)

  • Tony Dawson 11th Dec '12 - 7:22am

    @Spephen W:

    “Conservative = constitutionally conservative, economically liberal.”

    We want Gay marriage so that we can hand out more tax concessions to men? ;-)

  • Christopher Townsend 11th Dec '12 - 8:01am

    Labour knows what’s best for you, Tories know what’s best for them, LibDems know you know better.

  • Andy Boddington 11th Dec '12 - 8:49am

    Labour. Everyone is equal – but some of us have risen above that.

    Lib Dems. Everyone is equal – period.

    Tories. Everyone is equal – but some people don’t deserve to be.

    BNP. Everyone is equal – except you.

    Green. Everyone is carbon neutral.

  • Labour does not use skiver language
    Conservative does
    Liberal democrat Pontious Pilate washing hands whilst still complicit with Tory
    will that do moderator as being on point

  • LibDems: Providing the freedoms only a government can provide and protecting liberties only the state can take away.

    I’ll let Labour and Tory define themselves as goodness only knows what they are on about…

  • Conservatives = a paternalist state and the motherland
    Labour = a nanny state and the fatherland
    LibDems = the country is in a state and Land tax is the solution.

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