Tag Archives: political parties

How political parties have lost their sense of purpose

How Political Parties Have Lost Their Sense of Purpose

Several years ago I was in a meeting between senior commercial and research staff in a multinational pharmaceutical company. Discussing various research projects, one commercial person declared with obvious exasperation “Don’t forget that we’re here to make money not to indulge in fancy research projects.” The President of R&D, a Scotsman, looked him in the eyes and responded “Laddie, you’re wrong. We’re here to make medicines that make people better. And if we can do that, then we’ll make money as a result.”

This episode illustrates what has happened to business over the last several decades. It has lost its sense of purpose. There was a time when business used to focus on making products that made people’s lives better. If they could do that at a cost that was below what they could sell their products for, they made a profit and prospered. All of that is gone in far too many businesses. Now the primary goal is “shareholder value” – code for short term profit maximization – irrespective of whether social good is created or destroyed.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

Opinion: People power – a different kind of coalition

In the face of rapidly declining membership of political parties we – along with the other parties – face a challenge to survive.

In the past we have prospered as a membership led organisation, supported by a national network of volunteers and activists. Our revenue is derived from a combination of membership fees, donations and small scale fundraising.

Above all else we are members of a party that exists to promote and further our values by electing Liberal Democrats to all tiers of government – local and national. We are not a pressure group or a single issue party.

In light of drastically …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 38 Comments

Opinion: UK democracy and political parties – as seen from space

EarthHow would non-partisan observers see the condition of UK democracy over the decades as viewed from above the  stratosphere ?

With Labour they might see a political party that replaced the Liberals as the party of reform in the 1930s and after WW2, based on representing the ‘working class’ – then working mostly in industry. They might contrast this with today’s Labour party – now mostly funded and controlled by public sector unions – both a strength and weakness in terms of the progression of democracy. A public sector union is a very peculiar animal. Without the constraints of industrial competition, and with senior ‘two-hatted’ civil servants facing conflicts between the public interest and the interests of their unions, one can understand why the Labour party has certain weaknesses as part of the democratic system. Hence their conflation of the public interest with ever-expanding public employment, usually couched in the language of additional benefits to the public, (and a policy cohabitee with Tory centralization). Therein lies Labour’s key weakness as well as its strength.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

This week in Europe… 26-29 November

Lib Dems welcome the launch of free trade negotiations with Japan

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, the party’s European spokesperson on international trade, today welcomed the Council’s decision to authorise the launch of a free trade agreement with Japan, saying it could deliver additional EU exports to Japan worth €43.4bn (around £35bn). She said:

It is time to tap into the huge potential of a free trade agreement with Japan. It is the world’s third largest economy and crucial export market for the

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment
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  • User AvatarKiron Reid 29th Aug - 10:23pm
    I agree with John, a very interesting article. I hope that things turn out to be better in the future than Richard suggests; though peace...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 29th Aug - 9:52pm
    What has been done in Littleham ward to keep things going there ?
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 29th Aug - 9:20pm
    Expats: It is not for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to say he would not defend the country. If he did then another...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 29th Aug - 9:17pm
    Refugees cross the river border into China illegally, transit another country and are accepted in South Korea. North Korea had athletes at the Rio Olympics...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 29th Aug - 9:10pm
    @Petermartin2001; "Many who supported the remain campaign voted for the EU as they would like it to be." This implies reform of the EU and...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 29th Aug - 9:04pm
    I wish we would all wait and see what shape of Brexit is being proposed before deciding on a future European strategy. And in the...