Britain in 2030 essay competition: And the winners are…

It’s been a busy few weeks! Your Liberal Britain’s competition to write the party vision statement closed in early January. Since then we’ve had 30 volunteers reading and re-reading the 197 entries we received to produce a shortlist, working from a rigorous set of criteria rooted in the ideas contributed by the 7,000 members we consulted last year.

Now our group of seven judges – including Lib Dem Voice’s very own Caron Lindsay – have selected our winner and runners-up.

But first – why do we need a vision statement? As a party we struggle at times to explain what we stand for: our values mean the world to us, but they can be hard to communicate. Tim Farron is energetically rebuilding the party as a social movement with a common purpose, and our determined stance on Brexit is building support and momentum both.

At the same time, our opposition to Brexit does not in itself explain who we are or what we want to achieve more broadly – nor will it continue to be the defining issue in politics indefinitely.

To support Tim’s work, we need a party-wide conversation about what we stand for. Your Liberal Britain has worked to provide that conversation, hearing from more than 7,000 people and running 67 events up and down the country.

Our approach is simple: to best explain what we stand for, we should describe how Britain could be different if we Lib Dems had our way.

Blair and Thatcher each had more than a decade in government to remake Britain. We can still feel the consequences today. What would the UK be like after a decade of Lib Dem government?

We need a short, simple, inspirational description of how life in Britain would be better if the Lib Dems had their way. Your Liberal Britain’s ‘Britain in 2030’ competition is our effort to write that vision statement.

The authors of the winning and runner-up entries will now form a writing group, along with four established writers in the party who we’ve invited ahead of time. Working from the winning entry, these seven writers will collaborate to produce a vision statement that the whole party can get behind.

We’ll start work in mid-February, and take as long as we need to get it right. If we do our jobs well, this document could guide our policy making, inform our campaigns and communications, inspire our members, and support our candidates and elected representatives.

So who are the winners? First up, here are the authors of the nine entries we shortlisted:
Shortlisted

Gareth Warrington
Helen Holdsworth
Lee Howgate
Rory Freckleton
Sally Howarth
Scott Smith
Shan Chang
Steph Pollard
Tam Langley

To pick a winner and two runners-up, our judges reviewed these entries looking for submissions that were inspirational while remaining realistic, that communicated our values, that spoke to the issues that most concern liberals and Lib Dems today, and that did so accessibly for readers of all levels.

Here are their selections:

Runners-Up

Rory Freckleton

Scott Smith

Winner

Lee Howgate

Congratulations to Lee, Rory, Scott, and all of our shortlisted authors!

Finally, it was clear on first looking over the entries that we wouldn’t be able to shortlist all of the best entries. It was extremely difficult picking the nine that would go to the judges.

So in addition to the winners above, I’d also like to announced a group of Commended Entries, which although they didn’t make the shortlist deserve particular praise for the extremely high quality of their work.

Commended

Charlie Chichester

Clive Parish

Elisa Colton

John Shoesmith

Martin Walker

Mike Sole

Patrick Smith

Philip Hall

Huge congratulations to all of these authors, and thank you to everyone who took part!

You can read all of the entries by each of the authors named above here.

Next up – our writing group will work from the best entries to propose an official party vision statement. If you’d like to stay updated with our work, please join Your Liberal Britain’s mailing list. (And don’t worry: we tend to email no more than once or twice a month. We hate being spammed as much as you do.)

Editor’s Note: All of the above writers are of course warmly invited to write for us. 

* Jim Williams is the founder of Your Liberal Britain

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One Comment

  • John Morrissey 10th Feb '18 - 9:20am

    Youthpoll.

    ‘The Sound of Silence’. There seems to be no effective Lib-Dem voice at any level despite the incompetence, disunity and dishonesty of the larger parties in Parliament. There is little in the newspapers or radio (I am not familiar with what may be on the social media).

    Two problems face us. Brexit and the eclipse of the Lib-Dems. The first is the most urgent and perhaps the second can benefit from our efforts on the first. We should co-operate with all those who wish to prevent Brexit. I suspect that most people become lost causes when they get to 40: you won’t alter how they think about Brexit. The opinions and interests of 15-30 years olds have clearly been ignored and overridden. No-one it seems takes any notice of what those born after 23.6.1998 might be thinking about their future. Has anyone asked their opinions? They can be harnessed and would, I would guess, welcome it. But no-one (including Lib-Dems) is doing anything to cultivate them except maybe Momentum. We should foster a movement by young people to discuss the still little understood significance of Brexit and how their futures are at stake. Let them arrange discussion and maybe also a youth referendum on accepting terms proffered or withdrawing our notice of leaving the EU.

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