Christmas Competition: Why Be A Liberal Democrat?

The answer is simple: we are the only party centered on people who trust people to change their lives, their communities, and their government. This message resonates with millions, and it united the Radicals, Liberals, Social Democrats, Whigs and Peelites that form the rich tapestry and history of our party.

We trust people to know best what their conception of the good life is. We believe that consenting adults can chase their happiness – our only role is to enable them to do so and get out of the way. Whether that meant legislating for same-sex marriage so consenting adults can make choices about their lives or creating the Start-Up Loans programme, so entrepreneurs can access finance to launch their businesses and change the world – that’s where we are about.

We don’t see local authorities as administrative bodies that exist to deliver schemes agreed in Whitehall. We believe that truly local government is a way for people to take control of their communities, to shape and transform them. It is why we created City Deals giving local government powers to invest in schemes that will revitalise their areas and create badly needed jobs. It is why we made it easier to create town and parish councils – to give residents a framework through which to organise and run their towns and parishes; to bring to life the community politics that Lord Greaves and Gordon Lishman pioneered.

It was our belief in people that led the Whigs to fight for the Reform Act 1832, why the radical wing of the Liberal Party rose up to fight for the Reform Act 1867, why our movement agitated for universal suffrage, and why the SDP-Liberal Alliance continued a decades-long struggle for voting reform. It’s why the Liberal Democrats today stand as the biggest party fighting for Votes at 16 and for fairer votes. It is why we back devolution on demand – so communities can take control of services and stand on their own two feet, but only if they choose to.

You might be thinking that these are all good things the Liberal Democrats have done or believe in, but ‘why be a Liberal Democrat?’ In short: because these things are far too important to wait for someone else to make them happen; too urgent to leave it all to chance. Because our party’s history has shown small groups of people create real change, and it starts with one person. Whether it was flipping Hornsey and Wood Green and Manchester Withington in 2005 against the odds, winning two-thirds of the seats in South Cambridgeshire this year and shocking the pundits, or achieving our biggest ever win in Kingston-upon-Thames and Richmond as people counted us out.

The truth is the movement that we have built together had always relied on people like us to be its vanguard, to fight for liberalism even at its very darkest moments, to refuse to give up even when we were down and out because that was when liberalism was needed most.

That’s why you should be a Liberal Democrat.

Inspired? Find out more about our Christmas competition and how you can enter here.

* Kevin McNamara is a Fellow Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Vice-President Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality and Honorary Vice-President Young Liberals

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • And then Nicky and Danny etc came along and gave us the Bedroom Tax….a terrible shame..

  • John Marriott 12th Dec '18 - 11:19am

    That’s just what I was wondering, Kev.

  • David Evershed 13th Dec '18 - 10:35am

    Kevin McNamara’s enthusiasm for localism seems at odds with the Party’s enthusiasm for the centralism of the EU which only pays lip service to the subsidiarity principle.

  • Peter Hirst 13th Dec '18 - 1:24pm

    It’s good to be reminded of what distinguishes us from the other Parties. We exist to empower people and reduce if not abolish the need for us. This includes customers, professionals, workers, consumers and all minorities.

  • Joseph Bourke 12th Dec ’18 – 2:09pm…….I like to keep things simple. I think the Conservatives are a bit smarter than Labour when it comes to management of the economy, but have consistently failed to address the core issues of social justice and inequality. Socialism has proven to be a utopian ideal that fails to take account of human nature and individual aspirations; and has demonstrably failed to work wherever it has been tried……………

    Actually the figures show that Labour governments are rather more fiscally prudent than Conservative governments (please google the history)

    As for ‘Socialism always failing” ..Failing whom?

    Would you call Atlee’s government a failure? What about the current government?

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