Ed Davey interview with Tory think tank, Bright Blue

Ed Davey has been interviewed by ‘Centre Write ’ the magazine of Bright Blue – who describe themselves as “an independent think tank for liberal conservatism. We defend and improve liberal society.”

The interview is billed as talking to Ed about “about coalitions, what it means to be a liberal, and what the future, holds for the party he leads” and Ed provides some robust answers  to their questions. When asked if he regrets entering the Coalition he talks about his fighting the Tories over renewable energy – but as a result of winning those fights we have cheaper energy and lead the world in offshore wind. He doesn’t answer the question about whether he regrets us joining the Coalition but could not be clearer when asked “ Would you ever enter into a coalition with the Conservatives again?: 

“The answer is no. It’s quite simple.”

Ed is asked if the Party is now social democrat rather than liberal and he is very clear that the liberal tradition is fundamental  

“We’re the most liberal party in British politics by a country mile. I detect a tiny bit of liberalism in other parties, but not a lot. Whether it’s being liberal on economic policy, liberal on social policy, liberal on personal policy, liberal on political policy – we’re the true deal.”

He goes on to say :

I see authoritarianism running rampant in parts of the Conservative Party and parts of the Labour Party. I don’t see an agenda of freedom. One reason I’m a liberal is I believe in things like free trade, competition, and free enterprise. I see parts of the Conservative Party who don’t seem to believe in that anymore. I make no apologies for being a liberal who cares about people less well off

The part of the interview I found most interesting was when Ed was asked what made him think “I want to be a Liberal Democrat ?”. He says it was not one thing but a combination – a cousin who worked in environmental issues and got him reading about that, realising that socialist and statist solutions were not the answer as there was a need to marry the power of individual, business, incentives and the state for the common good. He also read Mill and was ‘very into‘ the liberalism of John Rawls. In addition, like many people, he was inspired by Paddy Ashdown.

“ If there was any moment at all, it was when I listened to Paddy Ashdown in 1988. I realised what a true liberal believer would do.”

 

The full interview can be found here :

http://www.brightblue.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/State-shifting-1.pdf

* Simon McGrath is a Councillor in Wimbledon and a directly elected member of the Federal Board.

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This entry was posted in Online politics and Op-eds.
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3 Comments

  • Peter Hirst 29th Aug '22 - 6:14pm

    Liberalism is both an essential as the people of Ukraine are showing and a luxury as many liberal policies are desirable though not life saving. Freedom is worth fighting for and occasionally dying for. At other times it is an aim, something to be sought and not always an end in itself.

  • Callum Robertson 30th Aug '22 - 1:19pm

    Really good write up. Thanks for putting this on

  • They are good comments and remind me why I wanted Ed to be leader but I do think he needs to be bolder and more radical. There is a small c conservativism even nimbyism about the current direction which might work in byelections but will not help to build the core vote that we need.

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