Tag Archives: green book

Green Book Pod….It’s the Economy…

The response to our first Green Book podcast was hugely encouraging.  We’re now working on the second in the series, looking at the climate emergency, focused on the challenge of net zero, and asking how the Lib Dems can recover our leading position on the environment.  That will go live later this month.

First, though, what did we learn for the debate on the economy?  We began here because concerns about the economy, be they low paid jobs, insecurity or our apparent inability to fund decent public services and infrastructure, are at the top of most people’s concerns. 

The lack of investment, both public and private, that has led to this situation is well known. However, the standard answer has been ‘but there is no money’ – the excuse for the austerity of the last 13 years – which has only made things worse while debts, both personal and public, have actually got bigger.  

In the podcast, we set out to start a fresh debate and to come up with innovative and distinctive ideas and new ways of thinking about political economy. The podcast looked at what has been done differently elsewhere, in particular in the USA where Biden is turning the economic approach of the last 20-30 years upside down, and then asked where the money might come from.

We had three great guests:

Vicky Pryce is a very well-known economics commentator, regularly on TV, radio and in the media. 

Max von Thun was economic advisor to the party when Vince Cable was leader and is now the European director for the US based Open Markets Institute.  

Richard Murphy is one of the creators of the original Green New Deal and also the tax justice movement, whilst being a very active blogger on political economy.

Overall, the panel felt that just ‘leaving it to the market’ with the cuts to state expenditure and investment have left us with failing infrastructure and public services, and with an unproductive economy.  Brexit and Covid have made problems that were already there much worse.  This needs the state to take more of a lead with a very different economic narrative along the lines that we are seeing in the USA and the EU.  This especially applies to infrastructure and the investment needed to tackle climate change where the state can take a lead to stimulate private sector investment.  

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Green Book is back!

LDV readers with long memories will know that ten years ago a group of us published The Green Book – New Directions for Liberals in Government.  We were urging the LibDems to adopt an approach to social and economic policy that put centre stage the need to preserve the natural world on which society and economy depends for its health, wellbeing and prosperity.

We’re back – and this time with a podcast series where external experts and party insiders explore the major challenges now facing the UK.  Future sessions on Green Book Pod will tackle climate change and then Europe, with more hot topics next year. Our first, launching our series later this month, focuses on the economic challenge.

Here’s a short trailer about the series and announcing our guests for the economics podcast:

 

Of course, since we published the original book a decade ago, the political context has changed radically … Britain’s exit from the European Union, the rise of populist and polarising forces here and elsewhere, the accelerating climate crisis, growing inequality, and much else.

Our belief remains, however, that there is a massive opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to set out an agenda for making a real difference – but only by identifying innovative, radical and robust solutions with realistic strategies to deliver them.  Our hope is this podcast series will help inform the party’s manifesto process too.

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The Green Book – new directions for Liberals in government

green-bookYesterday saw the launch of a book project that I’ve been working on with colleagues over the last year. Between us, we persuaded 27 authors to put pen to paper and say what should be in a programme for government, one that’s fit for the world we live in today. Some 70 people from business, NGOs, academia, think-tanks and political parties joined us in Westminster for the launch.

Our choice of the title “Green Book” is a very conscious nod towards the Orange Book of a decade ago and indeed Lloyd George’s Yellow Book – really authored by John Maynard Keynes – 85 years ago. Last week I wrote how times have changed since then.

Each author has a specific point of view but all were united in saying we can’t go on as we are, both as a country and as a party. As editors, we were clear that the LibDems are now a party of national government; we need a programme to put before the voters that’s frank about the challenges Britain faces: the first industrialised nation that has largely exhausted its natural resources and now has to compete for energy, food and raw materials with the burgeoning economies of India, Brazil and China.

Posted in Books, News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
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