New issue of Liberator out

Issue 387 of Liberator is on its way to subscribers.

Find out with our two free articles from this issue why Paul Hindley thinks the Lib Dems have chosen irrelevance over outspokenness despite being on only 7.4% of the vote, and Tony Greaves’ explanation of why Liberalism needs its capital L.

Also in this issue:

  • Peter Harvey gives a resident’s take on why the move for Catalan independence is an elite defending itself.
  • Claire Tyler looks at how to turn round the inequality that led to the Brexit vote.
  • Peter Black explains what’s gone wrong in Wales after the recent election disaster.
  • Dee Doocey on the need for the party to speak clearly to the people.
  • Michael Meadowcroft says Tim Farron need never have impaled himself on his religious views had he thought about how the state and religion interact.
  • Hugh Annand and Clive Sneddon argue for new approaches by the EU that might still ward off Brexit
  • Elizabeth McWilliams discusses why the Social Liberal Forum lost its way, and what it could become.
  • Jonathan Hunt calls for a Lib Dem emphasis on redistributing wealth, power and responsibilities
  • Simon Banks defends the concept of the local party in a more mobile age.
  • David Thorpe looks at what to do about corporation tax.

Also, news and gossip in Radical Bulletin, reviews and Lord Bonkers’ Diary.

Liberator back issues (free) and subscription details (£25 a year) are on our website.

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5 Comments

  • Tony Greaves lists what Liberals are against and states they are against Brexit. This is not true. The majority of party members are, but being in the EU is not a tenet of Liberalism. A belief in the need to work with other countries to enhance liberty is a tenet of modern Liberalism, but for some Liberals the EU is not a good vehicle for the enhancement of liberty.

    He provides no solutions, but identifies some interesting forces where we need to have a Liberal message – the decline of local democracy, the decline of the public sector, the rise of managerial/technocratic solutions, the taking over of services by private corporations, a global economy controlled by unaccountable corporations, the future of work with the rise of automation and robots, the future role humans (and I would add the need to give meaning to human lives outside of work) and the prevalence of neoliberal economics. I would add the growing feeling that there are no solutions and things will never get better.

    For me the answer must start with us rejecting neoliberal economics and the idea that private corporations always provide a better service than a publically owned organisation. We need to provide national solutions to how we control private corporations, and make global corporations accountable to national governments. We need to ensure that where a service is provided by the state it is truly accountable. This could mean having local control with those running the service directly elected. The increase in economic inequalities are linked to neoliberal economics and we need to have economic solutions that increase economic equality and this means creating an economic model that can cope with a reduced need for people to work and an increased role for the government to redistribution income from those who own capital to everyone. We need to make politicians accountable to their electorates. For me this means increasing the number of politicians and reducing the ratio of electors to their representatives.

  • Paul Hindley rejects the 2015 idea of us being the stability and unity party. He points out that our policy on cannabis in 2017 was radical, liberal and distinctive and got us press coverage. He states that our role should be to reform society to make capitalism fairer and more egalitarian. He states we need to understand that our record in government is holding us back. He thinks showing some contrition for what we supported might help! He hopes that we will support a graduate tax to replace student debt/loans. He calls for solutions to the inequalities of the gig economy, the centralisation of asset wealth and the threat to jobs of automation. He calls for decentralisation and especially of economic power (but I am not convinced his solutions (expansion of co-operatives and credit unions and new building societies) are the answer. He suggests supporting the introduction of a Universal Basic Income. He calls for us to return to being the champion of public sector workers and calling for the reversing of the cuts to local government, education and the NHS we supported while in government. He doesn’t say it, but I think it is implied – we must reject austerity and recognise we were wrong to support it in the first place.

  • Both of these articles are worth reading.

    The bottom line is that we have become irrelevant with our obsession with defending the status quo, at a time when so many voters are crying out for radical change to tackle the iniquity and inequity of the current economic settlement.

    If a liberal party is unable to become a radical party, we are finished.

  • Two excellent articles.

    As Ian says we have become irrelevant. At a time when the neoliberal establishment has collapsed in a heap of its own contradictions we have become obsessed with defending the status quo. How did that happen?

    My sense (and I am interested to know what others think) is that this has two primary roots that have interacted with and reinforced each other.

    Firstly, the policy-making process put in place at the time of the Liberal/SDP merger simply doesn’t work. It’s cumbersome, bureaucratic and hidebound – quite unable to identify and prioritise the important, think creatively or develop any ‘narrative’. On top of that, our MPs are supposed (theoretically at least) to toe the party line no matter how hoary with age even as “events” change the world around them.

    In a Parliamentary democracy, they should above all owe us, the people, their judgement which is a very different thing.

    Secondly, the long years of failing to break through electorally might have/should have led to a reappraisal of how the party runs itself followed by reforms to make it more effective – but didn’t. Instead, it led to making the best of a bad job; if the Party couldn’t break through then at least it could provide a springboard to put some individuals into positions of influence.

    And that worked rather well – but at a cost. Too often (and with many exceptions) the price of joining the Great and the Good was to be safely conventional and that in turn has tended to influence party governance.

    We can and must do better. As Ian says the voters are crying out for radical change.

  • @ Ian “If a liberal party is unable to become a radical party, we are finished.”

    I agree with you, and with the general thrust of the two articles in Liberator. What should have been our natural territory has been taken over by Jeremy Corbyn who articulated the unhappiness felt by millions who saw us as selling out for a mess of pottage in the Coalition, and then going along with the austerity neo-liberal card.

    The latest manifestation of a long line today is the Forensics scandal following privatisation of the FSS in December, 2010. Search “Police review 10000 cases in forensics data ‘manipulation’ inquiry” The Guardian-6 hours ago

    I cannot – at the moment – see a way out of the current situation other than the passage of time and events.

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