Happy Birthday to the Liberal Democrats – let’s be bold, confident and radical

The Liberal Democrats are 31 years old today.

Courtesy of my Facebook memories, here is what I wrote on our 30th birthday last year.

30 years of the Lib Dems today! 30 years of having the courage to stand up for what we believe in.

I think what I like best about us is that we have such an optimistic view of people – our citizens are not to be contained and restrained but given power to run their lives and communities as they see fit with a state ensuring that everyone gets a fair chance in life.

I am proud to be part of this movement. You don’t get to 30 without screwing some stuff up, but we have made sure that we have an international aid target enshrined in law, we put mental health on the political map – easy to forget that nobody except us was tailing about it 10 years ago – and we achieved same sex marriage.

I’ve met some of the people who mean the most to me in the whole world through this party. I love all my passionate, curmudgeonly, stubborn, creative, awkward, kind, curious and loving Lib Dem friends.

And I said on here that we needed to spend our next decade being bold, confident and radical.

Our task for the next 10 years is to continue to be right, to be audacious in getting our message across, to be bold, radical and insurgent. We have fought our way back before. We need to be confident that we will do so again.

We are at heart generous-spirited and optimistic. We see the best in people, we want them to have the opportunities to be the best that they can be. That is a joyful and positive message and it even has substance behind it. All the things we want to achieve have their roots in our belief that “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

We are this country’s establishment-busting, planet-saving, freedom-loving party that truly believes in letting people take back control (heard that phrase before?) of their lives. We need to stand up tall and confidently proclaim that message on every doorstep and in every way that we can. We have been very good at producing huge lists of policies over the years, but less good at the big picture stuff.  This decade needs to be the time when we get really good at that.

Honestly wouldn’t that be better than a Supporters’ Scheme and all the other process type reforms we are going to be voting on in York in a couple of weeks’ time? It is surely more inspiring.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Yes

  • David Warren 3rd Mar '19 - 8:39pm

    Britain needs a Liberal Party and it is the Liberal Democrats!

  • Jennie beat me to the three letter answer.

  • Peter Hirst 4th Mar '19 - 11:25am

    Yes, all we do is based on the premise that human beings are fundamentally kind, loving and generous. Give them power and they will use it wisely. And only they know what is best for them and their communities. And they live in the real world, working hard, raising families and enjoying the ups and downs of life.

  • David Evans 4th Mar '19 - 12:26pm

    Peter, and when you believe “that human beings are fundamentally kind, loving and generous. Give them power and they will use it wisely,” you will always be astonished when the Conservatives destroy your party around you and your philosophy totally fails to deliver, and even after it has happened, there will be no possibility of lessons being learned and mistakes will be made again, and again, and again, and again.

    That is why despite my being a lifelong Liberal, statements like yours make me despair that we will never get anywhere close to building and sustaining that fair, free and open society. Putting it simply, too many were too cosy in their self confidence that we were doing the right thing that they ultimately let the party collapse rather than accept they and their hero had got it totally wrong.

  • Roger Billins 4th Mar '19 - 3:46pm

    Sometimes being a Lib Dem feels like being a hippy in San Francisco in 1967.Wear a few flowers in your hair, show a bit of love and everything will be o.k. Grimmond marched us to the sound of gunfire and Steel told us to go back to our constituencies and prepare for governments. Instead 50/60 years on, its go back to your constituencies and write a Focus leaflet. Even Clegg and Cable, who don’t come across as softies, decided to show love and peace to Cameron and Co and look where that got us. Don’t ask me what the answer is for the next 50 because I haven’t got a clue but another Kennedy(without the drink), Penhaligon, Shirley or Steel wouldn’t come amiss.

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