Author Archives: Ian Kearns

Time to get off the floor, and build a Social Liberal future

It would be easy in the wake of last December’s crushing election defeat for social liberals to be down-hearted. There are certainly serious questions to be asked with regard to the party’s election campaign. The social liberal narrative was drowned out by Brexit, and by an incoherent mix of tactical manoeuvres aimed at attracting votes from the right rather than from the left and centre.

Some of the operational questions that need answers will be dealt with in the party’s official election review. But as we turn to the future, the political ones fall to all of us to resolve.

The Social Liberal Forum (SLF), of which I am a proud member, intends to play a full part in the work that needs to be done. As we embark on that work, we will be guided by three simple propositions.

First, that we must never again allow the rich tradition of social liberalism, of Lloyd George, Beveridge, Keynes, Grimond and Paddy Ashdown, to be marginalised in Liberal Democrat identity and strategy. Its rightful place is at the heart of our party, furnishing it with a coherent, non-socialist but identifiably progressive alternative to Conservatism.

It is past time to re-discover the radical commitment to a Britain of empowered citizens and to champion that cause against the citadels of unaccountable and over concentrated power. To do that, we must develop a visionary and unifying social liberal narrative about the future of this country that doesn’t just attach us more firmly to the islands of support we already enjoy but resonates across all nations, races, regions, genders and social classes.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 37 Comments

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