NEW POLL: Who is your Liberal Voice of the Year?

Today’s the day we launch our search for the Liberal Voice of 2011 to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is the fifth annual award, and as is our tradition, we’re looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s not a member of our party.

The list of nine nominees appears below. These were sought from Lib Dem members via our most recent survey; 233 nominations were submitted, and each of those short-listed needed to clear a threshold of five.

To vote, please use the poll on the right-hand side of the page.

This year’s shortlist for Liberal Voice of the Year is as follows

(in alphabetical order):

Mohamed Bouazizi

Mohamed Bouazizi was a 26 year-old Tunisian who set himself on fire in protest at police and government abuse, and died in January 2011. His act of suicide led to protests that triggered the overthrow of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, and to the Arab Spring.

Kenneth Clarke

Ken Clarke, Justice Minister in the Coalition Government, is a Tory MP frequently referred to as the sixth Lib Dem cabinet minister for his committed belief to prison rehabilitation and due legal process.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State, has helped lead the US response to the Arab uprising, and been a consistent and vocal advocate for the empowerment and welfare of women and girls worldwide.

Nick Davies and The Guardian

Nick Davies is an investigative journalist for The Guardian whose dogged pursuit of the British press’s illegal activities, including phone-hacking, sparked the closure of the News of the World and the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

Hugh Grant and the Hacked Off campaign

The combination of Hugh Grant and the Hacked Off group are vigorously campaigning for a cleaned-up British press and improved media standards.

Mark Littlewood

Mark Littlewood, a former head of media for the Lib Dems, campaigns for market reforms in his non-partisan role as Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, US President, brought home all troops from Iraq in October, took a leading role in the overthrow of Gaddafi’s Libyan government, and ordered the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden.

The Occupy Movement

The Occupy Movement, an international protest group primarily directed against economic and social inequality, currently lists 2,562 Occupy communities worldwide.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese political activist who has openly challenged the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights.

To vote, please use the poll on the right-hand side of the page. And please feel free to use the comments thread to debate the relative merits of the short-listed Liberal Voice of the Year candidates …

NB: we have looked at options for running the poll using preferential voting rather than first-past-the-post. However, those which we have looked at have significant issues (eg, limited number of voters, no blocking to prevent repeat voting). We’ll continue to look for ways to enable a fairer voting system for Voice polls.

Previous winners of the LDV Liberal Voice of the Year award:

2010: Aung San Suu Kyi, campaigner against political abuse in Burma.

2009: Peter Tatchell, international human rights campaigner.

2008: Campaigners on behalf of Jean Charles de Menezes ( and Stockwell Shooting Inquest Jury.

2007: Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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This entry was posted in LDV Awards and News.


  • Joe Donnelly 30th Dec '11 - 2:28pm

    Interesting to see both Mark Littlewood and the Occupy Movement on the list…really showing the wide church the party is on economic affairs!

    Also; Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama? Very sceptical they count as either liberal or particularly effective this year.

  • Joe Donnelly 30th Dec '11 - 2:29pm

    It also speaks to our obsession with American politics over European…no mention of any of the various liberal leaders that are in power now in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany etc.

  • I am tempted to nominate Ed Miliband. Most of what he says sounds good. He is attacking the Tory government for pursuing an economic policy which this party opposed 2 years ago and Nick Clegg called “irrational”. That must be a good thing. Trouble is, though, I don’t trust him. In government, he might just do what the bankers and the Americans tell him, rather than what is right for the country, much as Blair and Brown did. And while he talks the language of pluralism, he leads a party that is still more tribal than inclusive.

    A more obvious and deserving candidate is Mike Hancock. Mike is an indefatigable constituency MP not afraid to speak up for the people the Tory government is intent on bashing, and who refuses to be bullied by tabloid smears about his private life. Mike has that basic hallmark of a Liberal – he doesn’t allow others to tell him what to do.

  • Uninspiring choice this time round and a big shame about it being FPTP again. If there’s no decent IRV system available then surely you should have gone for approval voting? I think politicalbetting did an poll by IRV a while back, so maybe get in touch with Mike Smithson?

    To be honest, I’m a bit concerned by having Hacked Off and Nick Davies split between two options – surely that will split the vote for people who are voting for essentially the same thing. And very curious about Littlewood being on the poll at all – does anyone actually like him?

  • Tony Greaves 1st Jan '12 - 8:47pm

    PS Why are we voting by FPTP?

    Tony Greaves

  • James Baker 1st Jan '12 - 10:00pm

    “Obama will go down in history as the President who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law,’ a Human Rights Watch spokesman said” – Yet people here have nominated him for Liberal voice of the year. Honestly people!

    The Occupy movement as well?! Just bizzare…

  • Mark Littlewood stands out on the list as the only one not to have furthered liberalism in one way or another. My further comments about him would I am sure breach the moderation policy!

  • Ken Clarke definitely NOT a liberal (previous tory justice spokesman Dominic Grieve was actually far more liberal than Clarke on most matters) – why on earth is KK branded as such – he’s an old fashioned fairly authoritarian rightish tory, but with just enough common sense to tackle the dilemas of sentencing policy and not to see all human rights legislation and European institutions in general as some big socialist threat – but KK has never been a liberal – his record includes
    – introducing the internal market reforms in the NHS which commodotised health care have paved the way for Lansley’s external market
    – introducing the centralised national curriculum in schools
    – introducing a new offence of squatting
    – abolishing civil legal aid especially for social welfare law (as well as costs protection in no win no fee litigation)
    – negotiating opt outs from the European Court’s jurisdiction (thus getting round EHRC without having to repeal HRA)
    – a lot of tobacco flogging – allegations have included involvement in smuggling, lobbying developing countries not to introduce tabacco health safety warnings, targeting children with adverstising etc..

  • I voted for the occupy movement, just for their (albeit small) potential to change American politics. But Jens Stoltenberg should have walked it for his response to the shootings in Norway. Perhaps even the Norwegian people should have been nominated for their heroic response to the most heinous provocation.

  • mike cobley 6th Jan '12 - 6:29pm

    I vote … Richard Grayson for Social Democrat of the year!

  • Alex Sabine 8th Jan '12 - 1:45am

    To ‘anon’: On a point of fact, Kenneth Baker (not Kenn Clarke) introduced the centralised national curriculum in the 1988 Education Act.

    The internal market in the NHS was indeed taken up by the pragmatic but reform-minded Clarke in the late 1980s, although ironically the Thatcher government was initially sceptical of the idea when it was floated by the SDP…

  • Alex Sabine 8th Jan '12 - 1:46am

    That should read Ken Clarke, obviously (not Kenn)…

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