Tag Archives: co-operative party

Liberal and Co-operative

What does a Liberal look like? That is not some test for choosing a leader. The beginnings of an answer are more likely to emerge at a local level.

A reprint provoked the question in the current Liberator of a 1980s piece by Roger Cowe in which he argued: “I believe that the most important challenges to Liberals are firstly to live out their ideals, and secondly to convince others that they are right, and this is long term and somewhat nebulous”. Lifestyle issues can be very sensitive, and you can spend a lifetime learning how to live like a Liberal! However, I believe Roger’s challenge is still valid after all these years.

For the moment, I want to highlight just one element of that. At a time when government ministers are echoing David Cameron with the mantra “We’re all in this together” (which invites the response – oh really?), I suggest that a good subsidiary question is “What does a radically co-operative way of living look like?”

The Co-operative Party has been in alliance with the Labour Party since the Cheltenham Agreement of 1927, and I often wonder if any of our historians can shed light on pre-1927 attitudes towards the Co-operative Party within the Liberal Party. Presumably, the decline in Liberal votes was part of the reason for the Labour-Co-op pact. Come what may, Liberals should not be afraid of articulating co-operative values and indeed living by them.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments
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