Tag Archives: your liberal britain

Britain in 2030 essay competition: And the winners are…

It’s been a busy few weeks! Your Liberal Britain’s competition to write the party vision statement closed in early January. Since then we’ve had 30 volunteers reading and re-reading the 197 entries we received to produce a shortlist, working from a rigorous set of criteria rooted in the ideas contributed by the 7,000 members we consulted last year.

Now our group of seven judges – including Lib Dem Voice’s very own Caron Lindsay – have selected our winner and runners-up.

But first – why do we need a vision statement? As a party we struggle at times to explain what we stand for: our values mean the world to us, but they can be hard to communicate. Tim Farron is energetically rebuilding the party as a social movement with a common purpose, and our determined stance on Brexit is building support and momentum both.

At the same time, our opposition to Brexit does not in itself explain who we are or what we want to achieve more broadly – nor will it continue to be the defining issue in politics indefinitely.

To support Tim’s work, we need a party-wide conversation about what we stand for. Your Liberal Britain has worked to provide that conversation, hearing from more than 7,000 people and running 67 events up and down the country.

Our approach is simple: to best explain what we stand for, we should describe how Britain could be different if we Lib Dems had our way.

Blair and Thatcher each had more than a decade in government to remake Britain. We can still feel the consequences today. What would the UK be like after a decade of Lib Dem government?

We need a short, simple, inspirational description of how life in Britain would be better if the Lib Dems had their way. Your Liberal Britain’s ‘Britain in 2030’ competition is our effort to write that vision statement.

The authors of the winning and runner-up entries will now form a writing group, along with four established writers in the party who we’ve invited ahead of time. Working from the winning entry, these seven writers will collaborate to produce a vision statement that the whole party can get behind.

We’ll start work in mid-February, and take as long as we need to get it right. If we do our jobs well, this document could guide our policy making, inform our campaigns and communications, inspire our members, and support our candidates and elected representatives.

So who are the winners? First up, here are the authors of the nine entries we shortlisted:

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Last chance to submit your entry for ‘Your Liberal Britain’

What would Britain look like in 2030, if we Lib Dems had our way? That is the challenge set by Your Liberal Britain.

Before Christmas Sal Brinton reminded us in an email:

If we do this well, we’ll not only inspire manifestos and campaigns for years to come, but we’ll also inspire the people in this country who are looking for leadership through difficult times. Your ideas could help give them that leadership.

The authors of the winning entries will be invited to join Your Liberal Britain’s writing group, who’ll work together to take a shared vision to Conference in 2017. If it passes a vote, your contribution could become the official party vision.

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What would Britain be like in 2030 if the Liberal Democrats were in power? Your chance to shape our vision

Last year, Your Liberal Britain was founded by five new members who were keen to set out a clear statement of what a Liberal Britain would look like.

Their work has been supported by the Federal Policy Committee and they have already conducted a wide-ranging consultation. You can read some of the contributions made on this site here.

Now they are taking their work to the next stage with a competition, for which the closing date is 23rd December. Members are asked to set out what Britain would look like in 2030 if the Liberal Democrats were in power. Your Liberal Britain says:

As a party we struggle at times to explain what we stand for: our values mean the world to us, but they can be hard to communicate.

To overcome this we need a short, simple, inspirational description of how life in Britain would be better if the Lib Dems had their way. We need to supplement the preamble to our constitution with a temporary vision statement that helps communicate its statement of our permanent values to the people of Britain today.
We can then use this document to guide our policy making, inform our campaigns and communications, induct our new members and support our candidates and elected representatives.

I am going to be one of the judges and another, party president Sal Brinton, explains a bit more about the competition.

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Your Liberal Britain – Oxford East Event

Your Liberal BritainWhen asked to chair a meeting in Oxford East for the Your Liberal Britain initiative my heart sank. Having been through all the Lib Dem soul-searching last year, written a post-election blog, My Vision, and an Agenda 2020 essay, the last thing I wanted was more philosophy and discussion on values. But I agreed to host and I’m glad I did!

The event attracted a room full of people, more than our usual events, and the majority of the audience were new members. They hadn’t yet gone through the existential angst of figuring out our party’s identity and the way forward. They were fresh, full of ideas and raring to go!

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The ‘Your Liberal Britain Survey’ and One Liberal Vision

Not long ago, I responded to the ‘Your Liberal Britain’ survey.

I am pleased with this kind of democratic engagement. When I look at what (as it seems to me) is a high degree of engagement with grassroots Liberal Democrat members, I see some difficulty or constraints; there is a degree of uncertainty about what our party stands for, and what goals and ideals it should pursue. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, this constraint is also an opportunity: to provide an alternative to the Conservative Party’s wrecking project against the foundations of this society; and again, it can …

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What should be in the Lib Dem manifesto if there’s a snap general election?

How would you spend £2 billion?

That is one of the questions in a survey to party members asking for their opinions on our platform for a snap general election.

My answer was on house-building. If people have somewhere safe and secure to call home,  that has such a huge positive impact on every other area of their lives.

The difficult bit was then explaining where you would get the money from. That, for me, was easy – take it from defence and most especially the budget line that goes “like for like replacement for Trident.”

Many people think that the prospect of a quick poll has now receded, but if Labour are still imploding next Spring, would Theresa May resist the temptation to kill them off for good and aim for a much increased majority? Of course, that gamble may not pay off – and it’s our job as Lib Dems to make sure that it doesn’t. Making sure we have a strong message is a good exercise to complete anyway so even if there is no election, this is very important work.

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Your Liberal Britain: It’s not about the words: it’s what we mean by them

Your Liberal BritainA Liberal Britain has to be three things

It has be free, is has to be tolerant, and it has to be fair.

But those are dangerous words. Not because people disagree openly with them, but precisely because hardly anybody does. They are safe happy fluffy words that everyone nods along to, but then take to mean many different things and can use to justify more or less anything.

So what do I mean by them and what do they look like?

Freedom clearly must include a lack of state interference in area where the state has no business, like reading my emails or dictating my lifestyle choices, for example if I want to choose to use cannabis, or to choose to end my life, or indeed to eat sugary food. I should add in fairness that eating sugary food is the only one of those choices that I intend to exercise whilst writing this article, but that is not the point. We must allow people choice and not insist that everyone values the same thing or pursues the same goals.

However this negative freedom, the lack of legal limits to actions that primarily affect yourself, isn’t enough. A liberal Britain must also value positive freedom, tackling Beveridge’s five giants of poverty, idleness, ignorance, disease and squalor so that everyone has equal opportunities. This requires a government role: a locally accountable education, a National health service, a rehabilitative justice system. A Liberal Britain must not fall prey to the temptation to radically strip back the state on the grounds that it increases choice. For many people it doesn’t.

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Recent Comments

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    Lorenzo The difference is between a "deep" free trade area such as the EU and a shallow free trade area of the past. Given our...
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