Author Archives: Daniel Willis

Why it’s time for the Liberal Democrats to take back the mantle of freedom

The topic of freedom in politics is highly contested. For the Conservatives, in recent years,  this has centred around economic freedom. Is this still really relevant today?

Back in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s programme of economic liberalisation saw an explosion in economic freedom – more people were able to purchase their own council houses and stock market novices became rich overnight following the countless moves to privatise various public utilities.

Despite regular musings by Conservative MPs that they remain the party of low taxes, personal freedom and individual responsibility,  the facts tell a different story. A recent poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that only 14% of voters believed the Tories had a reputation for lowering taxes.

Personal freedom has also become a significant grey area for the Tories. The majority of the parliamentary party backed vaccine passports in 2021 – something that the Liberal Democrats firmly opposed, with Ed Davey labelling the scheme at the time ‘a grotesque misuse of government diktat’.

While the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly  required great vigilance and government intervention, any party that holds a belief in liberal values and is a carrier of the torch of freedom should understand the importance of not enforcing schemes on the populace that could be a precursor for revolt. Whilst vaccine passports were introduced, they remained deeply unpopular for their time in existence.

Any discussion about personal freedom would not be complete without the attack on the Human Rights Act by the government. Prior to its introduction in 1998, if an individual wanted to challenge a government act as unlawful, they would be required to invoke our ‘common law’ tradition of the rule of law. Essential rights were established on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the right being discussed.

With the passing of the HRA, the UK constitutionalised the common law – and gave more power to the individual to secure protections guaranteed by the state. No longer were people subject to the whims of the particular case. Human rights were now universal and guaranteed legal certainty.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 23 Comments

Why the Liberal Democrats must be at the forefront of a UK Green New Deal

Since it was first introduced in the US in 2007, the idea of a Green New Deal has received substantial support amongst a wide range of the electorate worldwide, who are increasingly rallying their governments to tackle the imminent threat of climate change.

Recently gaining traction after the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to US Congress, the growing need to put a Green New Deal into practice is once again making its way to the forefront of global politics. Who will speak up for a deal like this in the UK?

A recent European Commission report revealed that the UK currently leads the way in fossil fuel subsidies, providing a staggering £10.5 billion to support the industry. The continuous commitment to propping up such environmentally harmful practices against the will of a large percentage of the UK populace is not only damaging to our mutual trust, but the future of our world.

The current state of British politics is at a critical point. At a time of great political upheaval across the nation, the Liberal Democrats have a chance to take centre-stage in refocusing the national agenda and rebuilding national trust in our party. 

A UK Green New Deal is a way in which we do exactly that. A progressive, positive agenda which underlines the importance of protecting our nation’s economic interests as well as our environmental prospects. By wielding much more focus towards supporting renewable and cleaner energies and protecting our natural earth, we can also thousands of new jobs and lessen inequality in a fresh, booming new industrial sector. 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • David Raw
    Sorry, Mr Macfie, but the blue wall seats are not the same as the seats lost in 2015 for quite different reasons....
  • David Raw
    @ Alex Macfie " it’ll be much harder to attack him over it after he’s given his evidence". That's what you hope will happen. My opinion - after si...
  • Marco
    I would be concerned that whilst the Tory vote is imploding in "red wall" areas (up to 25% fall) it is is reducing by more modest amounts in "blue wall" areas (...
  • Alex Macfie
    @David Raw: Nearly all our seats "returned to type" in 2015, whether that was Tory or Labour. We all know the reason why. Obviously we have to play our cards mu...
  • Alex Macfie
    All current and former PO ministers will be giving evidence to the inquiry in the next phase, Ed included. This will actually help Ed, because (i) he won't be b...