It’s a fortnight since we launched our search for the Liberal Voice of the Year with the aim of finding the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is LibDemVoice’s fifth such annual award, and as is our tradition, we looked beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the liberal who’s most impressed our readers and is not a member of our party.
We unveiled the shortlist here on New Year’s Day. In total, 903 readers cast a vote in the past two weeks. Here are the results in full:
32% (288 votes): Mark Littlewood
13% (117 votes): The Occupy Movement
13% (115 votes): Kenneth Clarke
Ken Clarke, Justice Minister in the Coalition Government, is a Tory MP frequently referred to as the sixth Lib Dem cabinet minister for his committed belief to prison rehabilitation and due legal process.
- 11% (98 votes): Mohamed Bouazizi
- 10% (90 votes): Nick Davies and The Guardian
- 8% (74 votes): Ai Weiwei
- 6% (57 votes): Hugh Grant and the Hacked Off campaign
- 4% (33 votes): Hillary Rodham Clinton
- 3% (31 votes): Barack Obama
That’s a decisive victory for Mark Littlewood, a controversial figure among party members — he was the party’s head of media until he resigned in March 2007, and since then has become a doughty champion of free markets, most recently in his role as director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Somewhat ironically, the closest runner-up is The Occupy Movement.
Previous winners of the LDV Liberal Voice of the Year award:
2010: Aung San Suu Kyi, campaigner against political abuse in Burma.
2009: Peter Tatchell, international human rights campaigner.
2008: Campaigners on behalf of Jean Charles de Menezes (Justice4Jean.org) and Stockwell Shooting Inquest Jury.
2007: Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.