But we are the party of freedom

Martin Roche wrote an eloquent piece, with a follow up,  calling for Liberal Democrats to brand themselves:

The Party of Freedom

Though generally well received some thought the branding conflicted with other values; fairness, equality, and community. Many thought the slogan linked us to the excesses of market ideologues and libertarians.

Are fairness and equality such rivals of freedom? Is someone’s freedom not limited if they lack decent housing or other basic needs? Is their freedom not limited if they cannot access information or lack the education needed to make use of it? Is someone’s freedom not limited if they suffer from discrimination or if they are sufficiently impoverished that they are excluded participating in society?

Of course that person’s freedom is limited. Others do not understand that. We do. That is why we are The Party of Freedom.

How does allowing someone to adopt and live in a community restrict their freedom? How does reducing the restrictions on members of a community or reducing disadvantages those members face restrict their freedom? These things do not. Enforcing community norms or forcing someone into a community, of course, does. This is the mistake those obsessed with “identity politics” make. They often speak of identity and community in possessive terms: you both own your identity and are owned by it. As a result cultural practices are not, for the insider, a voluntary act but a duty. For the outsider they are forbidden. The community as a corporate body, rather than its members, is prime with a nullifying conformity and the oppression of the dissident and different as a result.

We do not “do” identity politics, others do; that is why we are The Party of Freedom.

Neither do we “do” nationalism; identity politics writ large. The identity politics proponent takes the unit of freedom to be the community, the “community” being ever so free to enslave its members. The nationalist, similarly, takes the nation to be the unit of freedom. We need only look at the rhetoric surrounding Brexit to see how we, the Europhiles, are expected to suppress our opinions, forgo the rule of law, cease to struggle for our own aims and actively work for an outcome we have no wish to see. We are to sacrifice our freedom so that “Britain” might be free.

We, though, do not consider your freedoms subservient to the nation’s, but the nation’s “freedoms” subservient to yours. That is why we are The Party of Freedom: your freedom.

The market ideologues and libertarians mess the whole thing up entirely. As with the identity politics enthusiast and the nationalist they too often prefer to privilege the freedoms of abstracted collectives rather than actual human beings. In this case their concern is for the “freedom” of business corporations.

In discussing these freedoms they empty the concept and use it as a meaningless validating buzzword: “what about our freedom to…?” Actions, though, are not justified simply by construction of a grammatical sentence with the word “freedom” in it. Try it with “freedom to rape”, “freedom to murder” and “freedom of theft” next time someone demands what is, in effect, the freedom to exploit workers, the freedom to hoodwink customers or the freedom to degrade the environment.

And then they talk of “wealth creators” and their “entitlement” to the wealth they have “created” betrays the assumption that these “wealth creators” and they alone have created the wealth. No one, though, makes anything in a vacuum. Wealth is created in a society and much of the wealth creating potential of a society is as a result of collective action. infrastructure, an educated workforce, a customer base prosperous enough to buy your product, these all depend on actions the collective actions of human individuals other than those the market ideologues and libertarians have credited.

Society is a cooperative enterprise where collective action should be targeted at optimising the freedoms of all the individuals who live in it. Not the freedom of few with those left to make do with what trickles down, nor the freedom of abstract collective entities. Not a miserly gruel of technical liberties, but the opportunity to lead a live as a full and equal member of society.

We are just the people to shape that collective action. Why?

Because we’re The Party of Freedom.

* Tony Lloyd is a member in Lewisham Liberal Democrats, an accountant and so pro European that he insisted on the European national anthem at his wedding.

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35 Comments

  • Katharine Pindar 30th Nov '16 - 9:46am

    It’s a lovely subject, but we have hammered it, and I don’t see that reiterating this gets the party any further. Since the Preamble says ‘We seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community’, I will stick by saying (if anyone asks!) that we believe in freedom, fairness and community. I care most about our liberalism – our shining standard at a time when accepted standards are falling. I will fight authoritarian populism, excessive nationalism, untruth and bigotry which are our dangerous enemies these days. But note, one of the leaders of the Leave campaign. Daniel Hannan, published a book last year of which the first words of the title are Inventing Freedom. Conservatives will contest your claim, Tony, for all the wrong reasons.

  • Doesn’t ‘the party of freedom’ suffer from the same problem as ‘stronger economy, fairer society’; ie, which party exactly is it out there saying ‘Our economy should be weaker!’, ‘Our society should be less fair!’ or ‘People should have less freedom!’

    Basically it’s Hoggart’s Law of the Nonsensical Reverse, in spades.

  • Conor McGovern 30th Nov '16 - 10:25am

    If we stress both negative (civil liberties) and positive (social security) freedoms, it’s not a bad slogan overall. My issue is a lot of people are just as put off by sloganeering as they are indifferent to motions on fringe issues. We know what’s important to us, we know our values – let’s begin putting forward some meaty policies on the big issues… And I say that as a veggie.

  • Before some start going down the route of the first 2 threads, can I gently just flag up what I believe to be the strategy behind this idea.
    Primarily this is about branding (a calling card/call to action), multi channel marketing and mass communication strategy – I’ll expand in a minute.
    Some seem to see this as a threat to their values and what the party stands for, as evidenced by the number of comments previously which appear to be defending language.
    I believe this perceived threat is unfounded and that the issue is that many people simply have no experience of what is being suggested here?
    Over the years I have been responsible, as part of a large sales team for rolling out a number of marketing strategies to customers and to be frank, on a number of occasions, we in the sales team, on first view of the latest campaign, have thought the Marketing Dep’t must have had one too many babysham’s in the bar the previous evening!
    However, once out on the road testing and implementing, almost always it’s clear it has been tested and piloted in advance with real customers and we usually get an emotional response and ‘buy in’ as long as we stick to the key messages, the language suggested and implement the strategy rigorously.
    This brings me to language and probably one of the key points I think many have missed. The target audience here is not us/the internal customers!
    This may be hard for some not used to Marketing strategy – but it actually doesn’t matter what we think (although obviously the more comfortable we all are, the easier it is to implement) only what causes an emotional response and engagement in the external customer (the voters). That is why you have to use the language that tests best with them.
    It in no way dilutes the values of what the Lib Dems stand for and believe in.
    The whole point of mass communication is to get that engagement and emotional ‘buy in’ ‘remotely’ from the 50 couples that walk past you when you are having your 2 min chat to the one couple who are happy to talk to you.
    In short, to be effective in the digital/media age you need multiple channels of communication/marketing targeted at different groups.
    The bottom line is, maximum reach and maximum effectiveness.

  • Peter Watson 30th Nov '16 - 11:28am

    @Katharine Pindar “Since the Preamble says ‘We seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community’ …”
    Perhaps “The party of balance” is a more suitable title. It sounds a little bit better (to my ears, anyway) than the party of the centre, the party of compromise, the party of none of the above, etc. And given that Lib Dems are possibly the least radical and the most conservative party in British politics at the moment, it does at least reflect what the party’s default position on any policy is likely to be, i.e. somewhere between the more extreme alternatives.
    As has been pointed out elsewhere, “freedom” can be a nebulous thing and often politics requires a trade-off between more freedom for one person and less for another, so it is difficult to be the the self-proclaimed guardian of it. And despite the best intentions of this article and others, “freedom” is not much help in defining a vision or direction for the party. What is the obvious and natural policy for a “party of freedom” on Brexit, fracking, schools, Trident, sex work, etc.?

  • Sue Sutherland 30th Nov '16 - 12:22pm

    I do think the party needs a good slogan and I would welcome the input from marketing people but I don’t think we’re going to arrive at it here on LDV because as MikeS says it involves testing our customers’ response. The problem I have with the word freedom is that it’ll be taken to mean everyone can do what they want, which is precisely what we don’t mean. Our politics is about balancing competing freedoms which is a rather slogan unfriendly type of politics, hence people find it difficult to know what we stand for.
    I’m also convinced that most, if not all, Lib Dem members would be horrified if our particular kind of politics became defined by a brand identity that did not reflect our party’s beliefs and for quite a few of us that happened when we were in coalition. We are right to be wary. At the moment one of our policies, being pro EU, is providing us with a cause which many people wish to support, so maybe we should explain why we are pro EU, how the core beliefs that we hold have made us Europhiles and then we have a base on which to build an understanding of what we stand for. I think Tim is already doing this excellently but perhaps the marketing people in the party could give us a lead in what to put in Focusses and newspapers.

  • Sue Sutherland 12.22am
    ………but I don’t think we’re going to arrive at it here on LDV because as MikeS says it involves testing our customers’ response.

    Agreed, and I assume that’s the next step.

    However for those still questioning the actual validity of “is a brand needed at all”, Jayne Mansfield highlighted last night the YouGov survey conducted of ‘ALL voters’ the week before conference.
    Just google “In search of the lost Lib Dems – you gov” It makes sobering reading

    84% of all voters could not say with any clarity at all, what the Lib Dems stand for.

    If the Lib Dems were a company with that kind of figure, it would be a case of ‘will the last person out please turn off the lights’

    Whatever is decided on, this needs to be addressed fast, before this (some would say) ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ with labour in disarray and the tories gambling everything on a successful brexit, is missed.

    Every successful organisation needs a Brand which is as flexible as possible, is short and illicits an emotional response from it’s target audience through multiple digital/media channels. The hook/calling card referred to earlier.

    I agree though, this will ultimately has to be decided by what tests best with the customers.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Nov '16 - 2:43pm

    @ Mike S,
    The problem for me is who is the customer? To whom is this brand directed.

    Without wishing to be overly negative because I think that so many posters who are loyal to the Liberal democrats such as Sue Sutherland are clearly rather wonderful people, I think that the lack of clarity in any message comes from a lack of clarity in the minds of Liberal Democrats on what their core beliefs are. I have wondered if this is because the Liberal Democrats appear to be an amalgam of Liberals and Social Democrats thus leading to different ideas about the inspiring word ‘freedom’.

    After five years, of reading posts on here, I have to admit that I still don’t know what the Liberal democrats as a party stand for…. and about thirty years ago, I was sent on management courses where I was shipwrecked with colleagues (In a four star hotel thank goodness), and on NLP courses which taught me that there are no such things as problems, just opportunities.

  • Mark Blackburn 30th Nov '16 - 4:16pm

    In the comments section in the first of these freedom posts, one of the proponents of this argument stated that it would appeal to both social liberals and Thatcherites, as if that was a good thing. In my view that’s its weakness; I don’t want Thatcherites in my party. Or libertarians. Or neoliberals. If we’re to have any credibility as an opposition to the Conservatives, we have to carry on as Tim is doing, and clearly establish ourselves as a centre-left socially liberal and socially responsible party which firmly rejects the rightward drift of the party during coalition. And that means avoiding one-size-fits-all words like freedom and fairness, which can mean just about anything you want them to mean.

  • Martin Roche 30th Nov '16 - 5:12pm

    Excellent post from Mike S.

    I can see there are those who who would like to kick this debate into the long grass. I profoundly think that would be a mistake. If tomorrow night the LDs win Richmond it will be a great victory, a great boost and a moment of hope for millions depressed by UK and global events this year. It will also mean that the Tories and UKIP (and probably the Left of Labour) will stop thinking of the party as an electoral comma and start weighing into us. A win in Richmond presents us with two challenges; 1) how to capitalise on the win, and 2) how to defend ourselves from attacks that will be in some cases extreme? A communications strategy is needed. No communications strategy pleases all the people in any organisation. As Mike S says, the people inside are the converted. The people we are after are unconverted and the uncertain. They are the most important people. Without them we can’t win. How they are addressed will be entirely different from how the converted are addressed.

    In serious marketing a slogan does not live in isolation. It has to have a solid connection with the essence of the entity it is promoting. It must suggest benefits. It must be in essence true. It has to be integrated , cleverly and creatively, into all communications; leaflets, posters, speeches, sound bites, Tweets, graphics, web sites, chat rooms. It has to be ubiquitous. There is a reason why corporations pay millions to marketing and branding agencies to develop strap lines and supporting communications activity. It works. There create their own narrative. They mound the words and the communication how they want. They set their own agenda, so that when they are not talking directly to the customer influence and persuasion is still going on.

    Probably the most successful British political slogan of the past 50 years was “Labour isn’t working.” That thought was woven into everything the Tories did and said. It was devastatingly successful. It was one size fits all. In that case negativity worked, but we’re a party of positive philosophy. We don’t want to do negative and I suspect nor do most of our potential voters.

    Structured, highly focussed, tested communications don’t win elections. People win elections, but people can’t be everywhere all the time. The purpose of all communications campaigns is to make it easier to close the deal, to win the votes. If we can do it we should do it.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Nov '16 - 5:20pm

    Katharine

    Do return to the previous thread of part two of this theme , I have some words of great appreciation of you and for you ! You have it right again. We are THE party of freedom plus ….!

    Tony

    We do not minimise our commitment to freedom by not wanting it by itself as a slogan !

    The greatest , if anyone could be , proponent of our philosophy ,was, John Stuart Mill. He wrote a book , “on liberty ” , a Liberal classic. Why then not say , as marketing ,” the party of liberty “?!
    He also wrote another , “the subjection of women ” , why not then say , as marketing, “the party of women “?!

    Because we are more than the sum total of slogans !

  • @Jayne Mansfield 2.43pm
    “After five years, of reading posts on here, I have to admit that I still don’t know what the Liberal democrats as a party stand for….”

    As respectfully as possible, I therefore have to say, how on earth can the Lib Dem’s expect the other 92% of the population (assuming the 8% support) to be inspired and motivated to vote for them?

    Hopefully the events of May 2015 and the Brexit vote will start to crystallise a few minds around the need to develop a winning strategy?

    No matter how ‘nice’ people are, no matter how great the desire to help others (both very admirable traits) and no matter how much people want to cling on to heart felt language and terminology, if it’s not working, then there is surely only one answer – you have to change what you do!

    How the party becomes inspired and motivated to unite behind a single vision of clarity with joined up well thought through policies to allow the vision to become a reality, is key to the chance of medium to long term success I would have thought.

    A desire to change people’s lives & the country for the better (which I assume everyone here would agree is the ultimate goal), surely relies first and foremost on having a winning strategy to get into power which is clearly communicated to the population through every channel possible.

    Maybe much more Pragmatic as well as Idealistic thinking is called for going forward?

  • Katharine Pindar 30th Nov '16 - 6:44pm

    Like autumn leaves not yet lost in the long grass, a lot of words have blown in here from the previous discussion. Martin and Mike, the party really does have marketing and communications experts already, and, hopefully, like God in the hymn, ‘is quietly working his purpose out’ – try asking ALDC, or our Campaigns and Communications Committee, chaired by James Gurling. I didn’t intend to re-enter this, but I do want to agree with Mark Blackburn’s sensible approach, and even more so with Sue Sutherland – there is enough in our unique approach to the EU for us to make ourselves known by and build publicity on for the foreseeable future. I wrote to Nick Clegg to ask him to front a campaign this winter, aiming to carry over sufficient of the Leavers to encourage the minority 48% become a majority, demanding another Referendum and the death of Brexit. Don’t you all hear the powerful voices now on our side? – the latest Bob Geldof. His are not ‘wild and whirling words’ to be blown away.

  • When I was younger I had a very good friend who worked in a call centre (for a bank actually). His biggest frustration was when someone started having a go at him when he was trying his best to help them.
    He had a stock phrase he often had to use which went: why are you attacking me when I’m trying to help you?

    Over these few threads, my big learn is that there is a lot of fear, a lot of mistrust, a lot of competing factions, a lot of history, a lot of perceived betrayal – and this is just from the people that are supposed to be all on the same side to each other. This is unbelievably sad and very challenging for those trying to help.

    I at this stage sense a ‘time out’ maybe needed at least until after tomorrow – big day for everyone.

    I want to ask one question though of everyone who has contributed to these 3 threads. How many of you have (like I did instinctively), moved away from this site and simply used google before commenting. I am assuming you all know what I’m getting at.
    I think people may be surprised if they did.
    Don’t forget, for some this is voluntary.
    Skills and experience are the lifeblood of innovation and success in so many walks of life.

    Just saying.

  • Thank you Tony Lloyd for writing this piece, I think it builds on the two articles by Martin Roche and answers some of the criticisms of the phrase, “The Party of Freedom”.

    One alternative that has been suggested is “liberty, equality and community” from the preamble.

    I particular like your presentation of freedom as being linked to equality, but you were weaker on community. However maybe the problem is that community is not a liberal idea, fraternity is. The idea that we are all one family. So it has to link into the idea of freedom being controlled because my freedom must not harm the freedom of my fellow citizen. It also has to feed into the idea that freedom is not about individuals but is also about everyone.

    Perhaps alongside “The Party of Freedom: your freedom”, should be “the Party of Freedom: our freedom”.

    @ Dav

    I am not so sure, maybe there are people who think certain freedoms should be restricted and I am sure people can think of ones that the Conservatives and the Labour Party have wanted to restrict in the past.

  • Denis Loretto 1st Dec '16 - 8:33am

    The column inches taken up by those trying to explain why “freedom” should not be taken as “freedom to exploit” speak volumes. We simply cannot get down to one word

  • Denis Loretto 1st Dec '16 - 8:37am

    Sorry – hit the button too soon! I meant to add that we can get down to two words – freedom and fairness
    And yes I am repeating what I said on previous threads.

  • Here we are trying to get an instant identification for the party and the articles and comments get longer and longer, demonstrating this is truly barking up the wrong tree.

    On a very practical level, house prices are 8 times average incomes – what are you going to do about it – “We are The Party of Freedom” – Ok, thanks, next please.

  • I am not so sure, maybe there are people who think certain freedoms should be restricted and I am sure people can think of ones that the Conservatives and the Labour Party have wanted to restrict in the past.

    Oh, clearly neither the conservatives nor Labour stand for total unmitigated freedom for everybody to do exactly what they want at all times.

    But then according to the article neither do the Lib Dems.

    So the message is really, ‘we stand for what we think are the really fundamental freedoms, inasmuch as those are compatible with living in an ordered society’ — which is something all three parties would sign up to.

    They’d just disagree on which freedoms they think are fundamental and what limits an ordered society will place on them.

  • I agree with what Mike S says about branding and the importance of achieving an emotional buy-in from the ‘customers’ – in this context the voting public. But, as he politely hints, the Lib Dems tend to talk to themselves. I would say that, to a large extent, it is a party OF activists, FOR activists – a club that at times verges on a cult – and that will never have wide appeal.

    If the party’s branding is weak it’s mainly because it doesn’t really have a ‘product’; everyone is free (that word again!) to devise their own version and, inevitably, these are all over the place. One difficulty is there is no good contemporary example to follow and it’s difficult to make sense of >100 year old policies, poorly understood and made for a vanished world. It’s especially hard against the backdrop of the many snake oil salesmen noisily pedalling their fake cures.

    The political equivalent of a product is a ‘narrative’ – a story that joins the political dots for voters in a way that matches their own experience of life thereby getting their buy-in. However, at the time of merger the priority was to devise structures to grind out detailed policy; what got left out was any workable way to develop narratives. The result is like trying to build a house with superb bricklayers but no foundations because the architect forgot to include them and the builder never queried the original plans.

    The core of a good narrative is actually very simple: it’s about explaining why the economy works as it does and then finding ways to make it work better and more fairly.

    Or, as Bill Clinton famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid”.

    A proper narrative would lead directly to a strong brand and that in turn would lead to election success. It really is an open goal.

  • The core of a good narrative is actually very simple: it’s about explaining why the economy works as it does and then finding ways to make it work better and more fairly

    Actually, the idea that ‘It’s the economy’ is itself a narrative. A narrative doesn’t have to be about the economy; it could be about, for example, security (if Labour change its policy against Trident renewal then the Tories will win the next election on the narrative of, ‘Labour will leave this country undefended’ alone, no need to mention the economy).

  • Martin Roche 1st Dec '16 - 5:26pm

    I’m with Gordon (3.35) all the way. Too much looking in and not enough lokking out.

    I’d however question the finality of his conclusion.

    Albeit we hope LD voters are more rational than most, but we’ve just been through a referendum where a large number of people voted against their own economic interest. Voters appear to be increasingly prepared to vote emotionally. I think John Curtice has done some work on this; will see if I can find. It would be interesting – perhaps crucial to know how people feel about the LD’s economic competence – good or bad. It may be that people see the LDs in more emotional terms, particularly given the party’s history re civil and human rights, social justice etc. All political offers are like all brand offers – a mixture of the rational/functional and the emotional. In all kinds of circumstances people make choices based on emotion, though often post rationalising. Hearts count for as least as much as minds, often more so.

  • Katharine Pindar 1st Dec '16 - 7:47pm

    Hello, folks, I took refuge from all this in the party website, which tells me helpfully,
    ‘The Federal Board will provide a strategic direction for the Party, using the Leader’s strategy as a base, scrutinising this where required.’ Elections are underway just now, but maybe the chair of the said board will be worth approaching about this when s/he is elected.
    @ Gordon – I think you are on to something, Gordon, in suggesting that ‘the political equivalent of a product is a narrative’ – but surely the narrative should not be only on the economy.
    @ Mike S. Mike, I have felt rather sad most of the day, considering that I no longer understand you, the most open-minded and thoughtful of contributors, and that I now appear as destructive to you and Martin. It is indeed sad when someone you are trying to help appears to attack you. But I have also been thinking, most of the day, and I now feel, not fear – which in fact I was not feeling anyway – but hope, which has lifted my own sadness. You don’t understand me either, but I will reflect further, and put my thoughts together, to aim at being constructive again. Meantime, let us hope we can all be rejoicing together tomorrow.

  • Dav,

    I agree that narratives can and should be about more than economics but it’s the biggie so it has to be the place to start with others budding off it. I also believe it’s where the Conservatives are most exposed since their neoliberal thinking about how it should run simply isn’t working for roughly 90% of people (and even some of the 10% are uncomfortable with it). It isn’t working in terms of income, housing, pensions, health care, industrial output, job security, job satisfaction and so on ad nauseam.

    Martin Roche,

    I think the Leave campaign really struck a chord with “take back control” since many feel their lives spinning out of control and that is known to be very psychologically damaging so to that extent Leave voters were acting logically. Of course the chances of actually getting control back are not so good (snake oil!!!) but then it was their only chance.

    Contrast that with the Lib Dems’ offer: they talk of devolution but have always supported the intensely centralising project of the EC and are officially in favour of putting large multinationals above the law (TTIP). This is a staggering level of strategic incompetence based on woolly thinking about ‘Europe’ on the one hand and ‘free trade’ on the other. It’s not difficult to understand that just because it says ‘free’ on the tin doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s inside (which is protectionism and elite privilege). This is ‘Snake oil marketing 101’ and the party failed to spot it.

    What is I think not sufficiently understood is that what we know as ‘economics’ is actually just Tory propaganda heavily promoted by their fellow-travellers in the media and elsewhere but having only the most tenuous connection with reality. As Frédéric Bastiat observed, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

    The “moral code” is of course their market fundamentalism etc. which claims that the market and its alleged imperatives (which just happen to suit Tory backers!!!) must be obeyed – There Is No Alternative. Oh yes, there is! And if we said it consistently they would be left looking pretty foolish.

  • Personally, I’d question the assertion that we are THE party of freedom. The label is already taken. “Freedom” has been successfully adopted by Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalists because freedom means, first and foremost, freedom FROM Westminster based governance. Success would give them freedom TO govern themselves. The freedom from/freedom to binary framework works well as both sides complement their primary aim of independence.

    I think it’s less clear when you apply the notions of “freedom from” and “freedom to” to more nuanced centrist party principles which advocate the building of a fair, free and open society based around values of liberty, equality and community.

    Although largely interchangeable with “freedom,” I think “liberty” would be a better choice partly (and somewhat crassly) because it sounds better. I don’t think it solves the liberty to/liberty from problem but at least no other parties currently claim to “own” it.

    Assuming we need to re-label at all, perhaps we could throw the “Open” party moniker into the mix. It reflects today’s greater accountability and I think it may have more appeal to younger people.

  • Michael BG (1st Dec ’16 – 12:22am) “(I)t…answers some of the criticisms of the phrase”

    Thanks, I was trying to get across that the suggested branding is not only compatible with our values but also leads into conversations where we can present those values. I rather relish the challenges Katharine (30th Nov ’16 – 9:46am) foresees coming from the Conservatives; so long as we prepare, they’ll be opening themselves up to a short, crisp explanation of why their particular take on freedom stinks. I’m with Mark Blackburn (30th Nov ’16 – 4:16pm) in not wanting Thatcherites, neo-liberals or Libetarians in the party. But I’d love a load of reformed Thatcherites, neo-liberals and Libetarians in the party, where we’ve shown them a better way satisfying their instinctive attraction to freedom.

    We have alternatives from Katharine and Peter Watson (30th Nov ’16 – 11:28am) and Denis Loretto (1st Dec ’16 – 8:33am).

    Peter: “The party of balance”.
    Katharine (implied) “liberty, equality, community!”.
    Denis: “Freedom. Fairness. Not hitting send too soon!”

    (When writing my piece I stumbled on a tweak to the original: “TheParty of Freedom.YourFreedom.”)

    Katharine has researched the party structure to find who to go to. Martin, can we not get you to contact the Federal Board (I’m sure you’re better at a pitch than any of us) and get them to commission the research needed to have data to guide the choice? It’s a serious idea that deserves to be taken seriously. I’m not saying that we’re not serious people but, well, we’re not going to be the people who take the decision on this.

  • Katharine
    I sent you the insight stuff the other day for a reason – you told me you were doing some counselling and were obviously interested to learn more.
    Understanding of each other is always going to be difficult online, in a short space of time and where people are coming at a challenge from seemingly differing directions.
    Many of us here are not retired and this is a voluntary endeavour that we fit in around our day jobs, because we want to help and want to make a difference.

    Would it help you if i told you my insights profile is 1. Yellow. 2. Red. If you wish to go back to it, i hope this may help you understand where I’m going from without judging.

    The frustration earlier was the lack of engagement from so many on the previous 2 threads particularly towards the process.
    I wonder how many here actually work in a fast moving business environment where this is a given. I assume the Lib Dem’s are not anti business, but maybe are not used to working urgently through a process to get a steal on the competition (i.e.: being proactive instead of being on the back foot having to react when stuff happens to you)

    I am greatly heartened by the direction this thread is now beginning to take.
    People are now undoubtably starting to engage, make really insightful suggestions and explain why things may be the way they are.
    We all need insight otherwise we can only draw conclusions based on our own perceptions.

    I have been following Mark Pack as well and last night read all the candidate’s submissions to the boards particularly their statements of how they would respond to the 64 million dollar question of what ‘what the party stands for’ – it made interesting and diverse reading.
    I note Mark is committing himself to strategic direction in his submission. This is heartening indeed.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Dec '16 - 12:37am

    Katharine

    If more people were like you, the party , the country , the planet really would be bathed in full-hearted Liberalism !

    I was correct in what I said about you and the word treasure!

  • Martin Roche 2nd Dec '16 - 1:55pm

    I have to fit any ideas/responses in between making a living, but first huge congratulations to Sarah Only and those countless number who did the job on the ground.

    As the begatter of two pieces that have stimulated a great many comments, I thought I might say, “that’s enough, for the moment. Ed.” There comes a time in all conversations online that they start to go round in circles. I just want to put a word in for the British advertising, marketing and PR sectors. One of the reasons we are a world force in the communications industries is that most campaigns for most products, services and organisations are based entirely on truth. The industryknows how smart the public is and that is very smart indeed. In free countries people spot dodgy dealers pretty quickly. Where it cannot be always said that truth is the essence is political campaigning, though many in the political class are as bad as the spinners and the snake oil characters with initials like NF (funny that and I only just realised; how slow am I?).

    As far as my proposition is concerned, it is the enduring values of the LDs that should underpin our communications. Millions think well of the LDs because of those enduring values (which probably accounts for much of the reaction on student fees). But those values are still there and can condensed as a key part of the communications armoury.

    I have taken note of Tony Lloyd’s suggestion that I take the principle of my thinking (not necessarily the words I have put forward) to the Federal Board. That sounds a sensible proposition. First, I’ll report back to an old LD friend who guided me to LDV and advised me on early writings. I hope I have been a creatively disruptive force for good. Until I return, thank you to all who joined in the debate, the many who saw a glimmer of something positive and those who know we are in a new world. Good fortune to all those campaigning on the windy plains of Lincolnshire.

  • Martin Roche 2nd Dec '16 - 1:58pm

    Many apologies to Sarah Olney. My auto correct changed her name to Only.

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Dec '16 - 11:43pm

    It’s late to be commenting, but I’ve been busy rejoicing all the day, keeping going back to the news channels, contacting like-minded friends, only now resuming LDV. To me it’s clearer than ever what the party’s direction AND its strategy is, for us to follow. Mike, I do regret it, but we are not on the same wavelength – I don’t ‘do some counselling’, I am a fully accredited BACP counsellor with my own small practice, and I only asked about Insight out of intellectual curiosity; I find these psychological profiles engaging, but as you yourself have suggested we are a mix of them, and they are not of relevance to my work. Lorenzo, you are too kind, and I hope I can continue to deserve your approval! I am gestating a new article now, but it will be a slow birth. Tony, I can’t agree with this approach, but appreciate your efforts. Goodnight, happy comrades all!

  • David Allen 3rd Dec '16 - 12:58am

    If we brand ourselves with a big grandiloquent bombastic evangelical slogan like “The Party Of Freedom”, then we self-identify as ideological zealots. We look a bit like born-again Christians, except that instead of an obsessive form of belief in God, we have an obsessive form of political belief, similar in psychology if different in content to an obsessive Marxist belief. So hey, let’s not do that!

    If on the other hand we only brand ourselves with banalities like “centrist” or “common sense” or “not left, not right, not forward”, etcetera, then we fall into the opposite trap. We brand ourselves as people with no real ideas, no solutions to anyone’s problems, and no drive. That won’t do either.

    The Preamble “liberty, equality and community” is much better than either of the above because it shows ideals, but it also shows balance between different ideals, so it also shows willingness to open our minds and engage with conflicting forces and conflicting goals. So – we’ve got beliefs, but we don’t have dogmatism.

    Then, more important still – Don’t just philosophise about what we stand for. Move swiftly on to demonstrate that our philosophy translates into practical actions and policies. As, indeed, Tim is doing increasingly well.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 3rd Dec '16 - 7:28am

    Katharine, looking forward to your next article. Your views are always among the most thought provoking on this sight, even if there are times when I disagree with you. I agree with you that we must focus on “liberalism”, although I think we should also focus on being “the party of freedom”. I don’t think it should be either/or. Indeed, “liberalism”, and “party of freedom” are surely two ways of saying the same things – the things that make us unique as a party.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 3rd Dec '16 - 7:31am

    I mean “your views are among the most thought provoking on this *site* “. Anyway, awaiting your next article with interest.

  • Katharine Pindar 3rd Dec '16 - 7:19pm

    Thank you very much, Catherine, I have been absorbing the statements of both Tim and our new MP from yesterday’s joyfulness, and the key words of both are ‘open, tolerant, united’ (what a marvellous acceptance speech from Sarah!), so there are many ideas and words to play with, which I shall enjoy reflecting on. Of course you are right in suggesting, I think, that liberalism contains liberty so contains freedom. But as to concluding this thread, I have to say to David Allen, I entirely agree with you, David.

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