Author Archives: Neal Lawson

The Independent View: Neal Lawson’s letter to Liberal Democrats

Dear Liberal Democrats,

This is one a series of letters to the progressive parties. I know you didn’t ask me to write but hope you will read it with the same emotion as it was written, a spirit of generosity, hope, realism and just a bit of frustration.

So, it’s one year on from the election and where are you? Recent results were mixed. In some councils you won back seats but in London and Wales little headway was made. Maybe bottoming out is a success – I can see that. But I can also see the potential for you to grow and be a huge part of the political and electoral force a progressive Britain needs. What is the strategy to do that?

Let me start from the fundamentals. Liberalism matters. To be liberal is to be open, to cherish freedom and start politics from the only place we can – from us as people in all our wonderful diversity. Of course liberalism can go one of two ways – you can be a neo-liberal and worship the market or you can be a social liberal and recognize that we only make sense as individuals within a social context. For me it’s the role of the social liberals that is crucial to the future of progressive politics. Indeed is there any real difference between social liberalism and liberal socialism? Someone once wrote that socialism is organized liberalism. I concur.

Posted in The Independent View | 74 Comments

The Independent View: What now for any progressive alliance?

Rounding off our trio of post-election views from the other parties (see here and here), we have Compass’s Neal Lawson.

So what now for any progressive alliance? Let’s start with an honest assessment of the hole we are in. Labour is now as divided between pluralist and tribalists as it is between those who think the markets needs come before those of society and those who turned social democracy on it head under New Labour. Labour did OK in the North but badly in the South, it did OK in Wales and atrociously in Scotland. The Greens have …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged , , , , and | 20 Comments

The Independent View: Confusing, exciting and terrifying times for those on the liberal left

These are confusing, exciting and terrifying times for those on the liberal left. By the liberal left I mean those of us who want to see people flourish, to make the world as they see fit – to do it individually but also collectively and therefore democratically and all that requires in terms of greater equality of power and resources.

The confusion is that few of us saw the Conservative-dominated Coalition coming and even fewer are aware yet of its effect on each party and British politics. But it will be profound.

Looking back I find it incredible that my Party, Labour, …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged , and | 98 Comments
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  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 16th Jan - 3:06pm
    A wise politician, especially a Westminster one might say that (s)he is not the wisest person to make these constitutional decision, being too easily influenced...
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    David Raw: The point I was trying to make was that restoring a railway can be cheaper than widening a road but it might not...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 16th Jan - 3:04pm
    The two Davids are thinking in one of the right lines, but we need both their suggested policy action approach AND a positive vision for...
  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 16th Jan - 3:00pm
    Peter Martin, Jennie's comment is on her own lived personal experiences: "It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that many leave voters voted the way they...
  • User AvatarJenny Barnes 16th Jan - 2:59pm
    This here people's vote. What's the question? You can hardly put TM's annihilated deal on the ballot, after what happened to it in Parliament. And...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 16th Jan - 2:43pm
    Thank you, David Raw, for reminding us about the Jenkins Commission and the other political realities which made it impossible to extract a commitment from...