Adrian Sanders MP calls for new focus on Community Politics

Adrian SandersIf 2006 was the year of the renaissance of 007, 2007 could be the renaissance of the Lib Dems.

Despite taking a seat from Labour in a great Parliamentary by-election victory, launching the most radical green tax switch policy to reward work and punish pollution, and remaining the only force in Parliament around which opponents of the war in Iraq could unite, it was something of an Annus Horribilis.

The New Year offers us new opportunities to carve out distinctive positions on foreign affairs, domestic reform and where we stand in relation to the Government and Conservative opposition.

However, popular policies and distinctive positions are not enough without an overarching theme that voters can easily understand and warm towards. It is not about leadership or logos or slogans, but values that people can identify with. Values from which the policies flow.

We have in our campaigning style the mechanism that embodies our values. It is Community Politics through which we liberate individuals to take and use power over their own lives. It is the antithesis of New Labour authoritarianism and the substance that eludes Cameron’s empty rhetoric. If campaigning all year round, not just at election time, means anything in terms of a value driven theme for the Lib Dems, it is that Liberal Democrats are on your side.

That should be our theme for 2007 and beyond. Have a great campaigning year.

Adrian Sanders is MP for Torbay and can be found on MySpace.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Community Politics is a fantastic tool, but it should not be our only focus.

    It can tend towards opposition for opposition’s sake and lead us to simply become a home for the disaffected rather than a home for those who believe in liberal principles.

    Community politics should take its place as a tool in the overall liberal armoury. We also need to set out general principles and pick some particular examples to espouse these (at national and a local level).
    Community politics then becomes a vehicle for liberalism not merely for gaining power (as it can become if you’re not careful).

  • I think tristan, Adrian is talking about Community Politics almost as an ideology, not just a campaigning tool. Labour and Tories have tried to copy Community Politics, but have failed because they treat it techneque. ComPol is putting our liberalism in to action at a community level.

  • Bernard Salmon 5th Jan '07 - 11:08am

    Agree with David. Tristan, you might want to read the ALDC booklet “Community Politics Today” which includes the original “Theory and Practice of Community Politics” by Bernard Greaves and Gordon Lishman, as well as other essays bringing it up to date. If you do, you’ll realise that community politics is far more than just a tool for gaining power.

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