LibLink: Chris Rennard – Lib Dems must stress where they stand out

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home
Watch Live on BBC Parliament

Over at the Financial Times, former Lib Dem chief executive Lord (Chris) Rennard surveys the political scene and suggests policy areas where Nick Clegg can show how the party is making an impact in government. Chris notes the problems of being the junior party in a Coalition:

Junior coalition partners in many countries are familiar with getting the blame for what is unpopular and failing to get the credit for what goes well. Nick Clegg’s first priority has to be to show that the coalition works – even with unlikely partners – while maintaining the party’s distinctiveness. If he cannot demonstrate measures of independence (as sometimes appeared to be the case when Paddy Ashdown and Tony Blair were flirting over a Lib-Lab coalition), the Lib Dems will appear to lose their raison d’être, and with it the level of public support needed to thrive. Here the party faces the familiar problem that it is most distinctive in areas that simply are not of great interest to the public.

And there could, he notes, be regional differences:

If some aspects of government policy fail, meanwhile, Liberal Democrats will be particularly vulnerable in places, such as the urban north of England, where council and parliamentary seats have been won from Labour over the past 10 years. Policies like the new £1bn regional growth fund, which aims to soften the consequences of public spending reductions in poorer parts of the country, will be crucial.

The three issues he think can mark out the Lib Dems from the Conservatives? Scrapping Trident, ending tuition fees and a liberal immigration policy. And he believes the ‘Big Society’ can be made to work, but only if it’s created in a truly liberal image:

The party must also ensure that central and local government work together with the voluntary sector to ensure its vision of a “big society” can be achieved – a project that will fail if it simply becomes an excuse for government doing less, but can succeed if it becomes a complete rejection of the Thatcherite view that there is “no such thing as society”.

You can read Chris’s article in full here.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Conference and LibLink.
Advert

3 Comments

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJenny Barnes 7th Jul - 2:08pm
    My mother used to be very snobby about microwaved food. It's just a method of heating, not some sort of class marker! For example my...
  • User AvatarGlenn 7th Jul - 1:59pm
    Roland I've been saying it right from the start. I will add that the predictions of what would happen in countries that didn't follow the...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 7th Jul - 1:35pm
    I watched Far From Heaven with Daphne before she died. I didn't realise it was directed by the same person. It is a good film...
  • User AvatarManfarang 7th Jul - 1:35pm
    The education system remains very elitist in Britain.
  • User AvatarRoland 7th Jul - 1:33pm
    @Glenn - Aaah the benefit of hindsight and the selective use of facts... However, the death rate going down doesn't necessarily mean what you want...
  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 7th Jul - 1:22pm
    Peter Martin, most higher earners are not wealthy enough or in a position to employ “tax-efficient" devices. As the Torry analysis shows the top income...