Tag Archives: co-operatives

Lib Dems: The Co-operatives Party

Theresa May’s plan to introduce worker directors onto company boards is a start, but she still has a long way to go to catch up with liberal thinking:  Jo Grimond advocated worker-owned firms more than 50 years ago, and she hasn’t reached that point yet.

But the Lib Dems need to be more consistent and outspoken in support for worker-owned firms and other types of co-operatives, too. Over the decades, we’ve had the occasional burst of enthusiasm, such as when Nick Clegg called for the creation of a “John Lewis economy” in 2012, but it doesn’t appear to be integrated into our policy-making as it is over at the Co-operative Party. It ought to be for the following three reasons:

First, by supporting co-operatives we can create a coherent, credible, principled centre-left alternative to Corbynite state socialism that might help us find common ground with some Labour and Co-operative Party supporters. Significantly, the Co-operative Party is increasingly keen to distinguish itself from Labour now, and shares some of our views on key issues. As Labour MP and chairman of the Co-operative Party, Gareth Thomas, says, the co-operative movement is pro-business and pro-EU; so are we. 

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

Opinion: Let many flowers bloom (though not too many Flowers)

The Cooperative scandal, it’s got the lot.

Sex + drugs + religion + money = media feeding frenzy.

Liberals mustn’t join in too much. Especially where mutual ownership and public services are concerned.

Like the Cooperative Bank, most mutuals and co-ops operate in market conditions. Unlike it, most are small. In public service, as free collaborations, mutuals provide an alternative to collective state monoliths. In commerce, properly run, they avoid public companies’ shareholder short-termism. Indeed, in some ownership models, they confer real power on consumers. The Cooperative Party gives Labour significant reach across mutual enterprises. But it doesn’t control all …

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments

Opinion: Time to rethink Co-operation

When we moved to Rochdale in 1999, we could hardly fail to take pride that the town was not only the birthplace of Gracie Fields, but of the Co-operative Movement. Moving our banking to the Co-op seemed the right thing to do, and national events a few years ago reaffirmed our commitment to being part of a movement that did things differently.

It is only in the last few years – well before the latest scandal – that I have become disillusioned with the business that purports to have inherited the values and practices of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 48 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats have a unique position on co-operatives. We should use it.

At party conference I asked Nick Clegg why the word ‘co-operative’ appeared only once in our economy paper and not at all in the resolution presenting that paper to conference. He advised me to write my views on a postcard and send them to him, and this is that postcard.

The third clause of the preamble to the constitution sets out the underlying principles of economic liberalism clearly and concisely:

We will foster a strong and sustainable economy which encourages the necessary wealth creating processes, develops and uses the skills of the people and works to the benefit of all, with a

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments
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    Hopefully the next Lib Dem leader will avoid the mistake which Paddy Ashdown made of crIticizing one of the previous leaders, despite his fashion in...
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    Peter - I am one of a small group of GLD members promoting a carbon tax plus dividend in the party, and what you describe...
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    Peter Martin, you say you don't think a Labour or Lib Dem government would have done any better, but as you know the report into...
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    David - thanks for your comments. A lot of the work on planning to reduce emissions has already been done, and is in the policy...
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    Thanks for the comments being Made so far. @James - Completely respect the distinction between The Black and White Mistrel Show and the Real McCoy,...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 6th Aug - 1:51pm
    Kieran, welcome to the Lib Dems. The move from Labour to the Lib Dems is not an easy one, but it's one that has been...