Nick Clegg’s The Liberal Moment: your blogosphere reader

Today saw the publication of Nick Clegg’s Demos pamphlet, The Liberal Moment, outlining his thoughts on progressive politics over the past century, moving forward to the future.

The party’s media office made the trusting (and canny) move to give a group of Lib Dem bloggers advance sight of the document, which means there’s already been a vigorous response around the blogosphere. In chronological order, here are the posts to date (we’ll add others as they appear):

STOP PRESS: Nick Clegg ends Lib Dem equidistance
(James Graham)

Ultimately, I don’t think the Lib Dems can hope to replace Labour until we start thinking of ourselves more widely than just a political party and build around ourselves a liberal movement. Labour and the Tories both have these; by contrast we have a liberal diaspora squatting inside the other parties. The decline of Labour and (inevitable?) failure of Cameron to fulfil his promise of liberal conservativism may help us change this, but at the centre the party needs to be ready for it. It’s a worthy ambition, Nick. Now make it happen.

Is this Nick’s Moment? (Neil Fawcett)

Much of the material is familiar – at least to anyone who ever takes any notice of what Nick says – but it is good to see Nick’s developing themes set out together in and easy to read package. All in all a well timed contribution setting out a strong case for the party.

Liberal Moment: Nick Clegg just made being a Lib Dem exciting again (Antony Hook)

I think this document is true to the Liberal Democrats’ best values and compares well to Jo Grimond’s “The Liberal Future”. The ideas expressed indicate to me that Nick understands that loyalty needs to travel down from the leadership to the grassroots, not simply the other way around.

Nick Clegg launches The Liberal Moment (Jonathan Calder)

… I haven’t read the thing yet either. When I have, I’ll tell you if I agree with James.

Clegg goes twirling towards freedom (Nick Barlow)

I haven’t got the time to read all of Clegg’s Demos pamphlet until sometime next week, but the summary and the bits I have managed to read aren’t exactly filling me with great confidence. It would appear that somehow both Liberal Democrats and Labour are ‘progressive’, despite disagreeing on almost everything. … Voters are deserting Labour in large numbers because they’ve failed – why are we choosing this moment to attempt to link ourselves with that sinking ship?

The Liberal Moment (Stephen Glenn)

Just as in the later part of the 19th and early 20th century the ideology battles for progressivism were battles being fought by Labour, long before they won the political battle, so now Nick thinks the battle to be the progressive party in thinking is ours. The battles on thinking are being won on the economy, environment, civil liberties, Iraq, Ghurkhas, and other issues we led the ideological crusade and others are latching on. The war to become the progressive force in politics in the country may take longer, but its day too may be coming.

Clegg’s Liberal Moment? (Charlotte Gore)

Sadly for everyone, this pamphlet is 92 pages long without an executive summary so the odds of being able to read this properly are quite low. I certainly can’t do it before I head off to work. So far I’ve not been able to find the bit where he rules out propping up the Conservatives (as claimed by James), but I have found a bit where he says he refuses to ‘even contemplate’ doing the same for Labour. In other words… nothing’s really changed there. We’re not going to prop up either.

92 pages, you say? Sure, I’ll read it this morning (Costigan Quist)

The final result is a political pamphlet few Lib Dem activists should have issue with. A trip down memory lane (for those with very long memories), a re-statement and updating of the party’s approach on the big issues of the day and a final plea for progressives everywhere to flock to the Lib Dem banner.

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  • Herbert Brown 17th Sep '09 - 10:54am

    “I’ve also posted something about it, mostly whinging about the fact I haven’t got time to read it”

    Sometimes I just don’t understand bloggers …

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Sep '09 - 11:15am

    Well, I’ve skimmed it, and I can’t find anything really objectionable. It’s Nick at his best, and that’s the problem. It’s trite and pedestrian, and that’s what Nick at his best is. It’s full of commonplace assumptions, ideas that have been kicking around for years, the sort of things well-meaning liberals say and are expected to say, but I didn’t see anything which suggested any deeper insights or made me feel “Yes, this is inspiring stuff”. For example, its view about what the Labour Party and the Conservative Party are is, I think, two or three decades out of date. The naive empowering people through constitutional reform and local government is also stuff that was maybe exciting and relevant in the 1980s, it’s not completely wrong now, but it just doesn’t grasp the real malaise and feelings of detachment from the governing class (whether state or private) which people have today. It is just stuffed full of tiresome clichés. The “elephant in the room” doesn’t make an appearance, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it did.

    It’s essentially warmed-up SDP, most obviously shown by its SDP view of developments in party politics in the 20th century. OK, I would vote for this stuff, given a choice between it and the other political parties, and for that I’m grateful. It’s nice to think I’m still in the right party, I have had my doubts in recent years, but it still leaves me a grumbling unsatisfied member of the party, and I long for it to have a leader which makes me feel better than that.

  • What ever happened to the organisation called the ‘Liberal Movement’.

  • David Evershed 19th Sep '09 - 12:27pm

    Whilst it would be ideal if more decision making could be at the local level rather than central, people at local level examing issues on a voluntary basis have little time to consider the pros and cons let alone research the topic.

    An example of this is the treatment of household waste where many councils are making the decision to commission the building of incinerators to burn the household waste rather than pay the landfill tax penalties being introduced. There are lots of local protests that there are better solutions than incineration; and that there are health issues from the particles emitted; as well as other issues.

    The research and evidence that local people need to be able to make a proper judgement about incinerators can only come from the pooled resources of central agencies like the Health Protection Agency or the Environment Agency. Busy local people do not have the time to properly investigate the technical issues involved.

    What might be a solution is to give local people the authority to commission specific studies by central agencies. The results of such studies would then be available to other local people.

    Power to the people !!

2 Trackbacks

  • […] read it this morning Caron’s Musings: Nick Clegg’s Liberal Moment Libdemvoice: Nick Clegg’s The Liberal Moment: your blogosphere reader · About the author: Sunny Hundal is editor of Liberal Conspiracy. He works full time as a […]

  • By Nick Clegg: delivering a Liberal Parliament on Fri 16th July 2010 at 1:51 pm.

    […] the full text: Last year, I wrote a pamphlet for Demos, arguing that the liberal moment had come. I argued that demands for a new approach to politics, for a radical redistribution of power, would […]

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