Conference Speeches: Tim Farron: Time for ambitious, active, liberal government

Tim Farron’s final speech to Conference was a cracker. Continuing the theme from his lecture to Social Liberal Forum Conference in the Summer – in fact he may have used some of the same lines – he made the case for a bold, distinctive liberal party to rebuild the country’s infrastructure for the 21st century.

He also made a powerful challenge to the Tories on human rights, asking Cameron directly to explain what it was about the right to life or freedom from torture that he found quite so frustrating.

He is trying to map out a way in which we can acknowledge the concerns of those tempted by the likes of UKIP without pandering to them. Here is the speech in full:

As I was walking in my local park, looking for inspiration for my speech, I kept meeting people who, amazingly, reinforced exactly the things I already think.

Which was enormously convenient.

You know, there’s a reason why politicians – with increasing desperation and to increasing ridicule – want to seem in touch with what real people think.

They are panicked by the rise of the populists: with beer or a whisky in one hand, a simplistic solution in the other – and always wrapped in a flag.

I understand that panic. I mean, last month we came closer than any of us would like to admit to seeing the breakup of the UK.

And mostly not because people bought into narrow nationalism, but because of a justified anger at establishment politics.

It’s not principally that those in politics are out of touch or don’t get it.

It’s that politics doesn’t deliver. It disappoints.

 

Maybe it always did, but not like this, nowhere near.

You see, I think politics today disappoints because globalisation has made many people feel powerless, insecure, uncertain.

And as the world changes, they don’t see their politicians doing enough to protect them, provide for them, or liberate them.

Don’t get me wrong: the rewards of globalisation are real.

The free movement of people, of capital, of ideas, have all made our society better.

And Liberals should always defend that freedom.

But if you lose your job, through cheaper labour costs in another continent…

If you lose your home, through currency changes and interest rate hikes…

If you lose your pension, through decisions made by far away bankers …

…well, you could be forgiven for thinking that globalisation hasn’t really worked for you.

And so it’s no wonder that many feel it’s time for a change. Any change.

It’s no wonder that people feel attracted to a pitch that says:

We can pull up the drawbridge. We can close ourselves off to the world.

Our problems come from immigration.

Poverty around the world isn’t our concern.

Climate change?  It’s a myth.

Maybe somehow there’s a path to a better Britain by pretending we are alone in the world?

Maybe somehow we can insulate ourselves from the impact of global change?

Maybe?  Only if you are living in a state of delirious fantasy.

In fact, Britain’s future relies not on turning away the best and the brightest from our shores.

Relies not on attacking migrants.  Migrants who make a net contribution to our economy.   Migrants who are less likely to claim benefits than our own citizens.

Instead we should be grateful and proud that migrants have chosen to relocate their lives here and are working to build our economy.

These people make Britain great, we should celebrate them not demonise them.

Britain’s future relies not on decrying foreign aid.

But, instead, recognising that we have a responsibility to the very poorest people in the world.

Because when we invest today to train a doctor, build a school or vaccinate a child, we make a difference to others, and we proudly reinforce Britain’s own dignity and decency.

Britain’s future – literally – relies not on pretending that climate change is a vast global conspiracy concocted by 97 per cent of the world’s scientists.

But, instead, recognising that it is an existential threat that we should be doing everything in our power to halt.

And I passionately believe that we can win these arguments.

Because I believe that people know that Britain’s future is as an open, inclusive society.

And we have to win these arguments. Because the nationalism, isolationism and misanthropy of UKIP and the Tories is a serious threat and it needs to be treated as such.

Liberal Democrats alone in the European elections recognised that, and we took nationalism on. While Cameron pandered and Miliband panicked.

You can’t win an argument if you aren’t willing to have it. And the other parties had ducked it for far too long.

You see patriots love their country, nationalists hate their neighbours.

Nationalists dodge the real political issues and they displace all blame for our predicament on others.

People who are different because of their race, their passport, their class, their accent, their faith, their sexuality.

So here’s the challenge to us.

The challenge to liberals.

The challenge to liberalism.

We will not win those arguments if we allow ourselves to be part of the Labour/Tory consensus:

Because its a consensus that says that governments are powerless.

That the state must get out of the way.

That people are on their own.

You see, the problem isn’t globalisation, it is Britain’s response to it.

And our attitude to the role of government.

Globalisation does not need to create the vulnerability that people are feeling.

The problem is that globalisation has happened in this era of British politics when the consensus has been for passive, can’t do government.

Government that backs away.

That keeps its hands off the economy.

That leaves its citizens to the ravages of the unfair, unfree and unregulated market.

That post ‘79 consensus: set by Mrs Thatcher, turbo charged by New Labour and clung to by too many, has neutered British government.

 

The unfair market, the unfree market – the Tory laissez faire market – it is a clunking dead hand that damages business and growth just as much as state socialism.

And it leaves everyone except the wealthiest in our society at the mercies of a globalised economy.

That is why people feel vulnerable, angry and disillusioned.

That is why people are repelled by dull, managerialist parties.

Why they are attracted to silver tonged separatists.

That is why I am bored with ‘small c’ conservatives in more than one political party banging the drum for small government.

Because I say that small government means weak citizens.

And it is the reason why, in the eyes of too many people, governments just don’t even seem to govern.

They just spectate.

I’ll tell you what, I didn’t get into politics to spectate.

I got into politics to do something.

And so did you.

So I want active, ambitious, liberal government that identifies problems and seeks to fix them.  Taking Keynes and Beveridge into the 21st century.

And believe me, if we don’t do this, no one else will.

Have you ever seen a more miserable, uninspiring, tired, backward-looking sight than those two old parties meeting over the last two weeks?

 

All the passion, conviction and vision of a convention of Brevville sandwich-maker salespersons.

Ed Miliband got a load of stick for only remembering half of his speech, but that’s still 50 per cent more than the rest of us remembered.

While the tories major announcement was to scrap the human rights act, because and I quote ‘people get very frustrated with human rights’.

So Mr Cameron, which of these do you find especially frustrating?  the right to life, the ban on torture, protection against slavery, the right to a fair trial, respect for privacy, freedom of thought and religion, free speech and peaceful protest…..

These are not frustrations, these are integral to what it is to be British.

And they are the legacy of Winston Churchill.  And seeing the Tories trashing his legacy, I am in no doubt that today he would once again be a Liberal.

Mr Cameron you may also be prime minister, but you are no statesman.

So it was back to the future with Labour, as they reheated a failed socialist ideology.

And it was back to the future with the Tories as they reheated the failures of Thatcherism.

But here’s the thing, an awful lot more unites than divides them:

Tories and Labour both saying we shouldn’t be investing more,

when WE know that we literally need to build our way to the jobs and growth that delivers economic security.

Not least, the houses we so desperately need to tackle the crisis of affordable homes in our country.

Tories and Labour both saying they will kick the ladders of support away from our young people, by engaging in an arms race over who can be toughest on cutting benefits for the under-25s,

when WE know that young people need jobs and opportunities not penalties and punishment.

Tories and Labour both saying they will be tougher on migrants,

But we will damage our economy if we make the wrong choices on visas and make our country a harder place to do business.

And Tories and Labour, as always, failing to grasp the scale of the threat from climate change. Unwilling to make any of the tough decisions to protect our environment for future generations.

Britain deserves better than this dismal lack of choice.

There is nobody but you and me to provide a genuine alternative.

An alternative that takes seriously the concerns and fears of an uncertain world.

An alternative that doesn’t pander, doesn’t just tell people what they want to hear.

But an alternative that offers real genuine solutions.

Only possible with a liberal government that is active and ambitious.

You can be proud of what we have achieved.

Abraham Lincoln said ‘all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power’.

Well our character has been tested and we have not been found wanting.

We stand proudly on our record.

Fixing Labour’s economic mess, only possible because we had the guts to go into government. And then – in government – successfully fighting for the investment needed to kick-start the economic recovery.

The result?

2 million new jobs;

Tens of thousands of families secure in their homes, not repossessed;

Thousands of business alive and blossoming

That’s the real life consequence of that tough decision to take power.

And just imagine if we’d let the Tories go it alone…..

Who seriously thinks that the Tories would have introduced the pupil premium without us?

The policy that has given £2.5 billion to the schools that Tories are least likely to send their kids to.

Who seriously thinks that the Tories would have raised the tax threshold, giving a £800 tax cut to the 24 million workers least likely to vote Tory?

Who seriously thinks that the Tories would have given freedom to the 3,500 children of asylum seekers who would have been held in detention?   3,500 children who will never know what horrors they were spared nor who to thank for being spared them.

I doubt that Nick Clegg won a single vote for ending that shameful detention of innocent children, but it’s in moments like that when you see someone’s integrity.

It’s in moments like that when you see that winning elections and taking power is more than worthwhile, it is essential.

So, while being proud of our record, let’s also be very clear about this:

People vote with their eyes fixed forward, not looking over their shoulders.

They are not interested in the past, they are interested in the future.

Their votes depend on what happens next, not what happened last.

Looking back alone will not win us a single seat next May.

And believe me, our challenge next May is not just to win seats in Parliament and in local government, it is to win the right to build a new consensus for government that does not spectate but sets its sights high for our country, that doesn’t walk on by, for government that is liberal, green, internationalist, competent with our economy, compassionate with our society.

Every leaflet you deliver, ever door you knock upon, every stakeboard you put up, every donation you make, everything you do this next six months is about building a new consensus…

a new consensus for a Britain that can be at ease in a community of nations in a global economy.

A nation where people feel that they matter, because they do matter.

Where our liberties and our livelihoods will be protected by a government that is on our side.

So we must ensure that our economic policies are comprehensively liberal.

That means being prudent, wise and living within our means when it comes to revenue spending.

But it also means opening the door as wide as we can on capital spending to transform Britain’s infrastructure.

If we want to free our people, and defend them against the harsh winds of globalisation then we must literally build a better country.

It is time to open up the potential of all of the people and all of the places in this country.

Thirty years of passive, inactive government has left us with a massive housing crisis.

The right to buy without a duty to build has devastated our communities.

We have ludicrous house prices and an overheated private rented sector.

That’s why in the next decade we will need a national mission for three million new homes to prevent nothing less than a return to the squalor that Beveridge sought to eradicate.

 

So let’s let housing associations and local government off the leash and let them build.

Let’s be the people to make that happen.

 

Thirty years of passive, inactive government means that our country is hopelessly and damagingly economically unbalanced.

While we pour opportunity upon opportunity on a minority of people who live in the right place, went to the right schools, have the right parents and restrict opportunities to everyone else….

We prevent Britain being all it could be.

It is ludicrous that our largest city is more than seven times bigger than our second largest city.

So many of the social problems in London, and outside London, rest on the fact that London matters far too much for its own good and for the country’s good.

We need to liberate the potential of the rest of Britain.

So that we can attract investment and jobs and give opportunities to our young people without them needing to move to the other end of the country.

And nothing will do more to rebalance our economy than to bring our towns and cities closer to together with faster rail links.

So, we have got to deliver HS2.

I know the intellectual heavyweights in Ukip don’t like it. Presumably because it increases the chances of people coming to your town, who aren’t from your town, and some of them might be foreign.

But the threat to this project comes from Labour too. Ed Balls has repeatedly tried to kill it off.

But this scheme is vital for our country.

The alternative is to build more and more motorways, increasing congestion, damaging the environment.

And don’t be fooled that it’s all about speed. In fact the way it’s sometimes been sold has been a little patronising – as if all we northerners need to achieve economic and personal fulfilment is to be able to get to London quicker.  Do not flatter yourselves!

A new north-south rail link is about capacity – getting those longer journeys by high speed trains into a new line so we can tackle the horrendous over-crowding people face as they commute into our towns and cities to work.

But we can’t stop at HS2.

We have to tackle East-West links in the UK too. So we should be planning not just HS2, but HS3, 4 and 5 too!

Starting with a high speed link between Hull and Liverpool, through Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.

Connecting East and West as quickly and as seamlessly as we connect North and South.

Let’s be the people who make that happen.

And thirty years of passive inactive government has meant a frankly pathetic response to the greatest crisis facing humanity: climate change.

Reducing green-house gases by 80 per cent by 2050 is just not good enough, when only 100 per cent will do.

For pity’s sake what’s the point in aiming to do less than we need to?

What sort of mission is satisfied with failure?

And any target is pointless without proper action.

So let’s be massively more ambitious with the Green Investment Bank – greater capitalisation; allowing it to issue green bonds; to raise money on the markets.

There must be a green economic boom with government investment in renewables, so that sixty per cent of our electricity by will be carbon free by 2030 and that all our energy will be carbon free by 2050.

Let’s transform the Green Deal and give every single home in Britain an energy efficiency makeover, eradicating fuel poverty and halving demand for energy by 2030.

We should be proud of Ed Davey’s leadership, and we should claim a green future that is optimistic, inspiring. Winning the war on climate change is not about hair-shirts and austerity, it’s about a positive, innovative, hugely motivating mission to beat catastrophe and boost Britain’s economy.

If you are not pro-Green then you are not pro-business.

Let’s be the people who make that happen too.

And all this: only possible through ambitious, active liberalism.

Only achievable with an ambitious, active, liberal government.

Conclusion

These are ambitious goals.

But liberalism has been ambitious before.

Liberalism in Britain gave us universal suffrage

The abolition of the death penalty.

Freedom of religion.

The old age pension.

The welfare state.

Healthcare, free at the point of use

LGBT equality.

All things we take for granted, all things won by liberals in this party and beyond.

We should be proud and encouraged by these victories.

Britain is better because of you.

But we know that there are more battles to be fought and won.

Just look at how far we still have to go to achieve real equality

Last month Emma Watson spoke at the United Nations.

She gave a passionate call for men to join the fight for gender equality.

It was met with vile threats and a barrage of personal abuse.

 

In 2014 women still, too often, are paid less, represented less and matter less.

That is a moral outrage.

But you know as well as I do, that our politics and our party do not yet reflect the society we represent either.

That is unacceptable – and we should redouble our efforts to change it.

Last year my daughter started secondary school.  She is brighter more beautiful and more decent than you would ever expect given that she is my daughter …She’s inherited my football team, otherwise she’s got everything going for her…I want her to know that nothing is beyond her reach, that she is capable of being anyone and doing anything that she wants.

That there is no glass ceiling that cannot be broken – and I want men to be part of making that happen too.

You see the challenges that we face are big, but Britain’s politics is small.

Never then has it been more essential that Britain has a strong liberal party – this Liberal party.

So let’s get behind an ambitious, active liberalism that captures the imagination of the country.

Let’s say to Britain: there is a future that we can all get behind.

We will not compete with the silver tongued populists by being pale imitations of them.

We have to be the people calling for wisdom amidst the hysteria:

Calling for hope amidst the fear.

Calling for ambition amidst apathy.

We will not blame our plight on foreigners,

people on benefits

or green crap.

We will offer our vision for a greener, fairer, better, dynamic and more liberal nation.

For government that does not wash its hands, but rolls up its sleeves.

For active, ambitious liberal government.

 

If you get that…

If you want that….

This is our opportunity.

This is the Liberal moment.

Let’s grab it.

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24 Comments

  •  Different people will take different things from what was a very good speech. A few key sentences caught my attention—

    ……….”The unfair market, the unfree market – the Tory laissez faire market – it is a clunking dead hand that damages business and growth just as much as state socialism…….

    …….That is why I am bored with ‘small c’ conservatives in more than one political party banging the drum for small government…..

    ……….People vote with their eyes fixed forward, not looking over their shoulders. They are not interested in the past, they are interested in the future. Their votes depend on what happens next, not what happened last.

  • You Gov poll.
    This what we are up against and no conference rhetoric will not make it go away:

    Will fade from scene not a force in 10 years
    Liberal Democrats 48%
    UKIP 36%

    Here to stay and a force in 10 years
    Liberal Democrats 25%
    UKIP 48%

  • John Roffey 7th Oct '14 - 6:51pm

    As John Tilley says there is a great deal in this speech. However, judging from the title – I must assume at this is an aspirational speech with the key message that the Party should refuse to be drawn into the current fashion of political parties of being primarily concerned with the short-term goal of winning as many seats at the next GE as possible – but instead, find solutions to the long-term problems we face that are side-stepped by other parties in their lust for GE success.

    If that is the case – I agree wholeheartedly – however, my only confusion is that some of the points made seem to be in conflict with this key message.

  • Helen Dudden 7th Oct '14 - 8:05pm

    The poll tax gave Don Foster his chance.

    Whats changed, my vote for a start, I helped to campaign for him many years ago, now, I would do exactly the opposite.

    I can assure you we do remember and how Don Foster voted on everything, he went against those who trusted him.

    Never mind, he will get his title and be gone from the city for ever.

  • “It’s not principally that those in politics are out of touch or don’t get it.”
    I seem to be having a comprehension problem. I can see lots of words from Tim, but no concrete solutions in his speech. Can someone point me to the bit of the speech that shows firstly : That he ‘gets it’, and secondly : What detailed practical policy actions, will rectify the problem for the ‘left behind’ and disaffected?
    Tim’s ‘wish list’ is frankly meaningless to the disaffected, if it doesn’t spell out what real solutions Lib Dems have to fix the reasons for their disaffection.?

  • Stephen Hesketh 7th Oct '14 - 9:28pm

    An excellent speech from Tim Farron and one that surely contains something for any and all mainstream Liberal Democrats.

    This is the authentic Liberal Democracy we have been crying out for since the last general election.

    Did we make the right decision to enter government with our age-old political enemies the Tories, yes, almost certainly we did. We placed our people and our nation before our party. But almost as soon as ‘we’ tasted the power of office many seemed to forget our core values and policies. Yes, we believe in proportional representation which almost inevitably leads to coalition and compromise. We understand that, but some of the political mistakes were so basic as to beggar belief – but to err is to be human – and we don’t know of the behind the scenes horse trading.

    But what I have been unable to stomach has been the contemporaneous decision of the leadership to attempt to reposition us as a political party and movement – to ‘anchor us firmly to the centre’ and to be the party of a ‘Stronger Economy, Fairer Society’. This centrist claptrap does absolutely nothing to capture the essence and reforming zeal of Liberal Democracy.

    And to add insult to injury, as we haemorrhaged voters, supporters, councillors and members, we were not listened to. And we are still not being listened to.

    I may be being unreasonably cynical but this has led me to the conclusion that not all the mistakes were simple ill-considered judgements – indeed how could professional politicians with team of SPADs not see what was patently obvious to the ordinary foot soldiers?

    Tim’s speech is a timely reminder that there remain in Parliament many true authentic mainstream Liberal Democrats.

    Yes, we are going to suffer heavy losses next year but if we are to rebuild our party and confound our political foes and the pollsters, it is surely to the Liberal Democracy of Tim Farron’s speech that we must look .

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Oct '14 - 9:40pm

    I’ve not been much of a fan of Tim Farron in the past, but I do like this speech.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 10:00pm

    EU regulations mean we definitely don’t live in an era of hands-off government. However, I’m not going to be too negative, because when we really need Tim he gets in the trenches with us.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Oct '14 - 11:14pm

    A word of warning though: the clock is ticking for a centrist party to emerge and if Farron attracts a load of social liberals then it will hasten this creation.

    Regards

  • Alan and Helen Dudden
    You both make reasonable points and I have no doubt that the memory of things such as the bedroom tax, tuition fees and new nuclear power stations will live in memories as long as for example my memory of ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher’ in the early 1970s long before she was the most disastrous prime minister of the last century.

    This bit of Tim Farron’s speech —
    “………….People vote with their eyes fixed forward, not looking over their shoulders. They are not interested in the past, they are interested in the future. Their votes depend on what happens next, not what happened last.”…
    was made in the context of Liberal Democrat ministers banging on about all the “wonderful” things he had done “in government”.
    In that context it is exactly the right message for the outgoing President of the party to be giving to Liberal Democrat activists. He is right to warn them not turn up on the doorsteps of voters saying –“look what Clegg and co did in government now go out and vote Liberal Democrat out of sheer gratitude”.

    Voters very seldom vote out of gratitude for things that have been done. Everyone expected Winston Churchill to be elected out gratitude in 1945 for “winning the war”. The people who really won the war, the troops, the factory workers, the land army girls voted for a better future, for Beveridge’s Welfare State and the promise of and hope for better times to come.

    Tim Farron’s forward looking message of building houses for those in need, building railways as economic investment, and building a green sustainable future is both hopeful and realistic and provides a vision , a big picture.
    It provides reasons for people to join and be active Liberal Democrats and contrasts markedly from the shallow sub-Thatcherite small state nonsense the we get from Clegg, Laws, their outrider Jeremy Browne and their owner Paul Marshall.

  • Gwynfor Tyley 8th Oct '14 - 9:02am

    What I enjoyed about Tim’s speech was the language he used – or more the language he didn’t use – avoiding all the ‘management speak’ so many of our politicians get lured into. Makes it direct and intelligible.

  • Stephen Hesketh 8th Oct '14 - 10:25am

    @Eddie Sammon7th Oct ’14 – 11:14pm

    “A word of warning though: the clock is ticking for a centrist party to emerge and if Farron attracts a load of social liberals then it will hasten this creation.”

    Eddie, the issue is that Liberalism, social democracy, socialism, conservativism etc are grounded in political philosophies – centrism isn’t and furthermore it is politically meaningless.

    There is a pretty good chance that UKIP will eventually either replace or, more likely, recombine with the Tories. This is the more likely scenario to result in the creation of a (small l) libertarian centre-right party than the traditionally radical centre-left Liberal Democrats moving to the rootless centre.

    I dare say that a minority in the party would be more at home in such a socially (small L) liberal/economically sub-Thatcherite centre-right party but they are unlikely to draw much support from the membership, activists or voters of today’s Liberal Democrats. The evidence is in the polls and membership unrest.

    If someone is looking for a centre party, they should get on and form one rather than attempting to redefine the Liberal Democrats in their own political image!

  • Helen Dudden 8th Oct '14 - 10:29am

    Alan, there are those who wish not to see. I will vote for someone I believe in. Someone, who stood by me when I needed help with my housing and another issue.

    We very soon, will be able to have power.

  • Stephen Hesketh 8th Oct '14 - 10:30am

    @Alan 8th Oct ’14 – 10:08am

    Alan, if you were a regular visitor to LDV, you would realise your attack on John Tilley to be 100% and 180 degrees off the mark. Wrong target altogether!!!

  • Helen Dudden 8th Oct '14 - 10:31am

    Tim Farron, I would say, I used to think you were a grounded political asset to your Party, but, that will not be enough to draw those like me back into the Party.

    One swallow, does not make a summer.

  • Sadly, like the rest of the Lib Dem MPs, Tim has not had the courage to speak of the mess Nick has made of things. He may become leader, but leader of a much smaller party and one that will be in decline for many years to come. Indeed if he is leader in 15 years time, he may find himself to be the last ever leader of the Lib Dems.

  • Helen Dudden 8th Oct '14 - 12:02pm

    Yes, and all the selfies of Don Foster will not improve the situation. So sad, I put so many hours in to what I believed in.

    The original preamble.

    All the comments, that I, or others like Alan make will never alter things. Just a waste of time.

  • Stephen Hesketh 8th Oct '14 - 10:00pm

    Alan you make a lot of noise for a Labourite. As I have frequently written we have made some pretty poor choices in coalition with the Tories but as a Labourite don’t you think you are on somewhat dodgy ground lecturing us on leaders who say one thing in opposition and do another in power. For all his faults Clegg has nothing on Blair!

  • Helen Dudden 10th Oct '14 - 8:09am

    Well, so pleased you feel that way, and I was one of you for 21 years, but the food banks, bedroom tax, and many other cuts changed my mind.

    You were in the coalition to make the numbers, you were not elected.

  • Stephen Hesketh
    “……For all his faults Clegg has nothing on Blair!”

    We were told that Scotland Yard had nothing on Blair over the sale of seats in the House of Lords. And then blow me the investigating officer is fixed up with a top job advising the feudal dictator of Bahrain . Just coincidence I suppose.

    We might believe that Chilcot has nothing on Blair, but five years after Chilcot started and some years after his report was written we are still waiting to be told what it says.

    Meanwhile Blair continues to run his business. “Dictator-R-Us” making millions advising some of the worst regimes in the world.

    Alan probably thinks Blair is a hero of the working class because he was a leader of the Labour Party, but the evidence seems to point to something else. I will now put on my hard hat and await an explosion of self righteousness from Alan.

  • Helen Dudden 11th Oct '14 - 9:33pm

    We are not talking about Blair, at least I am talking about the failures of your Party.

  • Shirley Campbell 11th Oct '14 - 10:35pm

    “Liberalism in Britain gave us universal suffrage

    The abolition of the death penalty.

    Freedom of religion.

    The old age pension.

    The welfare state.

    Healthcare, free at the point of use

    LGBT equality.”

    Yes, it did.

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Oct '14 - 11:01pm

    @Helen Dudden 11th Oct ’14 – 9:33pm

    Actually Helen, John and I are talking about Blair and Labour. I must admit to missing the LDV rule stating that whilst Lib Dems can (and certainly do) hold and post objections to the behaviour of our own leadership, we must not mention the even worse serial behaviours and failures of other parties and their leaders.

  • Shirley Campbell

    You are stretching the truth an awful long way with your list of things Liberalisation gave us.

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