Tag Archives: freedom

Why a liberal response to taking back control matters

When Vote Leave chose their slogan they broke the mould of British politics. It stood in stark contrast to the established formula of successful general election narratives. New. Better. Ambition. Difference. Forward. Fairness. Future.

Vote Leave initially intended to go down the same route. Vote Leave, Get Change. But a last minute change from campaign director Dominic Cummings left the campaign as Vote Leave, Take Back Control. Cummings, fascinated by psychometric voter profiles, intended the slogan to act as a direct channel to voters with authoritarian tendencies. It worked. Campaigners hammered in the message at every opportunity and Leave won …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Jo Cox Square Opening in Brussels

September 27th 2018, the sun is out and it’s warm once again after days of cold and rain in central Brussels. Rainbows splatter walls, murals, and road crossings along Ancienne Belgique, the large Concert hall that sits upon Brussell’s LGBTQ District. A large crowd gathered to remember and praise Jo Cox on this vibrant Belgian square which the City of Brussels is naming after the late British MP for Batley on Spen.

Jo Cox lived and breathed the streets of Brussels for six years, first as political assistant to Glenys Kinnock MEP and later as a lobbyist for Oxfam. Cox later went on to defend the European Project during the long political battle that was the 2016 EU Referendum. Two years ago, Cox sailed along the Thames with her family proudly flying an “IN” flag up against the pro-Brexit Flotilla. This was one of the more jovial and surreal moments of the referendum campaign. The next day Jo was assassinated by a Neo-Nazi terrorist, set on sowing hate.

Do you remember where you were when you found out Jo Cox had been murdered? I was at the University of York, where I was due to be in the audience on BBC Question Time. “The show is cancelled I’m afraid,” said the producer, “An MP has been shot”.

The political toxicity that led to Jo Cox’s assassination had not been seen in the United Kingdom since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. ‘A lot of people hoped that the violent assassination… on the streets where she grew up would have a profound impact on the political discourse. however two years on I’m sadly not at all sure this is the case’ said Kim Leadbeater, sister of Jo Cox in front of the large crowd. The vindicated far-right have been emboldened by the Conservatives and Labour’s growing acceptance of their worldview. Jo Cox, conversely, ensured the political establishment called out extremist violence during her time as MP.

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The Fight for Equality Goes On!

I have been inspired by Paul Walter’s excellent series on this site for Black History Month. If you have as well, I encourage you to write a blog for Black History Month and send it in.

American by birth, I am guilty of unconscious bias which permeated through my upbringing. Many people don’t recognise the racism which lies beneath the surface in the way they relate to one other. Of course overt acts of racism make the news, but it is the little interactions and assumptions which bother me, as they are …

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Let freedom ring

This is the speech I’d like to hear Tim Farron give before the General Election.

I stand with you today to talk about the security of our nation, the protection of our way of life and about combatting the terrorist, the bomber and the gunman.

Our police and security services are working at full capacity. We know that and we thank them for it. The government deserves praise for its reaction to the Manchester outrage.

Many voices – prominent and influential Muslims among them – have joined in condemnation of the terrorist’s actions and in praise for the wonderful response from the emergency services and the people in Manchester, across the UK and worldwide.

We are deploying money, human resources and all the relevant machinery of the state to keep us safe from harm.

But there is one thing we are not doing.

No leading politician of recent times has attempted to replace the poison being fed to the impressionable with a counter case of championing democracy and its values and rights.

There is a vacuum in the battle and it is being filled by the extremists to spread hate, violence, death and destruction.

Democrats have to force out their death cult and replace it with the clean, pure, fresh air of democracy.

Every school, every pulpit, every council chamber should ring every day with democracy. It is freedom.

I call today for the leaders of political life in the U.K to join me in a reaffirmation of the fundamental values, right and benefits of democracy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments

But we are the party of freedom

Martin Roche wrote an eloquent piece, with a follow up,  calling for Liberal Democrats to brand themselves:

The Party of Freedom

Though generally well received some thought the branding conflicted with other values; fairness, equality, and community. Many thought the slogan linked us to the excesses of market ideologues and libertarians.

Are fairness and equality such rivals of freedom? Is someone’s freedom not limited if they lack decent housing or other basic needs? Is their freedom not limited if they cannot access information or lack the education needed to make use of it? Is someone’s freedom not limited if they suffer from discrimination or if they are sufficiently impoverished that they are excluded participating in society?

Of course that person’s freedom is limited. Others do not understand that. We do. That is why we are The Party of Freedom.

Posted in Op-eds | 35 Comments

Opinion: “Freedom is a Word I Rarely Use Without Thinking”

A letter originating from the Leader’s Office on Liberal Principles has provoked some much needed discussion on this subject. For example, this opinion piece from Paul Connolly received a warm welcome.

But it seems odd to discuss Liberalism without ever mentioning directly power.

There been a few mentions of that awful concept of ‘empowerment’ which is so deeply ‘illiberal’ and yet seen as a badge to be worn by post 1997 ‘liberals’.

To ‘empower’ is to allocate power. It is in the first instance the acceptance of the taking of power from people and to ‘reallocate it’. It is a fundamentally …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Individual freedom and power should be our distinctive Lib Dem identity

It seems that every few days there is another soul-searching LibDem blog or newspaper article asking: “what do we believe in?” “What do we stand for?” “What’s the coherent narrative behind the string of ‘Lib Dem achievements in government’?” What we need to do is urgently define ourselves in contrast to – not in relation to – the other major parties.

What we need to do is build a strong national identity.“Individual freedom and power” should be the phrase that the Liberal Democrats adopt to assert their distinctive identity for three reasons.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNick Baird 19th Oct - 1:14pm
    @nvelope2003 - "Any idea what the Turks are up to in all this ?" Trying to redeem themselves as defenders of free speech and journalistic...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 19th Oct - 12:51pm
    This is very helpful, the posting and politics of the new D66 leader Rob Jetten. He seems to have a greater feel for our culture...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 19th Oct - 12:36pm
    EU Regulations have the force of law ostensibly so that there is a level playing field. Which Nato or UN regulations have the same status...
  • User AvatarTonyH 19th Oct - 12:27pm
    expats - I actually agree with you, but unfortunately QT still has a big audience and is probably one of the only ways that significant...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 19th Oct - 12:25pm
    "Our sex discrimination laws, maternity leave, workers’ rights, environmental and health and safety protections started there." This is simply not true. For example the first...
  • User AvatarMichael Cole 19th Oct - 12:24pm
    I shall join the 'People's March tomorrow at Park Lane.