Author Archives: Chris Howden

A defence of liberalism

“Socialism is the only ideology fit for the working class”

These were the words I was told the day after the 2017 General Election- and to an extent, they were true. For as far as the eye could see across South and West Yorkshire, the only real option voters had was to vote for Labour. ‘My patch’ was nothing more than a patchwork quilt of safe red seats, Trotskyist CLPs, and statist, unambitious, complacent Labour-run councils. As you may have imagined, I rejected this dogma. I saw nothing optimistic about Corbyn’s left-populism and his commitment to the growth of the state, whilst the arrogance of which my local Labour Party machinery had governed these one-party states had instilled in me a great suspicion of their supposed attachment to progressive politics.

Instead, I turned to liberalism. Ambitious, confident liberalism- an ideology that can enrich and empower the lives of all citizens. I’d be lying if I said I could remember the single event that tipped me into this decision, but the quiet dignity and humility of Nick Clegg’s concession speech ensured that days later, I was a signed-up member of the Liberal Democrats. By rejecting Labour’s state-socialism, I was committing myself to the fundamental values of freedom, liberty and democracy which can only ever be found in the Liberal Democrats. I was supporting a party that would stand up for individual rights and freedoms; that would radically transform our unfair, broken politics; that believed in free markets and free trade as a force for good; and that recognised the state can be used as a tool to ensure opportunity for all. Instinctively internationalist and green to its roots, the Liberal Democrats remain the true radicals of British politics, and the only credible alternative to the statism and small ‘c’ conservatism of Labour and the Tories.

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