Tag Archives: michael meadowcroft

The Party’s Crisis – a response to comments

The paper on the crisis facing the party, linked to by my LDV article on 30 September, sparked a great many pages of debate, for which I am grateful. However, much of that debate was centred around policies and their varying relevance to the current Liberal Democrat identity and programme. Normally I would have been delighted to have catalysed such a debate but the paper was intended to confront the party, and particularly in this context, LDV readers, with the nature of the acute crisis that challenges the future of the party itself. The argument in the paper is that if there is no viable party to promote them, then all policy ideas are castles in the air – shimmering perhaps, but no less ethereal for that.

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The Party’s crisis

The global political situation, with the rise of populism and nationalism, and the domestic political scene, with a Conservative government trampling on democratic values with impunity, is crying out for the powerful advocacy of Liberalism. The huge problem is that in Britain there is currently no relevant political organisation that encompasses and promotes Liberalism. The Liberal Democrats have sunk to such a level that the party is incapable of recovering to become the political force that the vacuum in our politics demands without first developing a topical and substantial statement of Liberal philosophy to unite around and to promote, and then adopting a dedicated and well-funded strategy to revive the hordes of derelict constituency associations.

The recent document “What Liberal Democrats believe” is a start but it fails to link the philosophy with relevant recent history and lacks the vital context of the current political situation. Its narrative is inconsistent and needs developing to provide a real Liberal vision that will inspire. Alas it merited a mere fifty minute debate at the recent conference (the previous equivalent debate aeons ago was allocated a complete half day!) and significantly the three working parties for which the Federal Policy Committee recently invited participation did not include one for the development of the philosophy statement.

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Liberal ideas for the future of Leeds – new book in a ninety year-old tradition

The Leeds Yellow Book 2018: Essays on a Liberal Future for Leeds, was launched on Friday 16th February, in a packed venue by Lord Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Honorary Leeds Alderman Michael Meadowcroft, Liv Powell of Leeds Young Liberals and Ian MacFadyen (all pictured above at the launch from left to right, Ian MacFadyen, Lord Newby, Liv Powell, Michael Meadowcroft).

The Leeds Yellow Book 2018 is a collection of essays by Liberal Democrats and liberals outside the party offering ideas on how to ensure that everyone in Leeds, however they started, can make life better for themselves, their family and their community. The Leeds Yellow Book 2018 has been compiled and edited by Michael Meadowcroft, Liz Bee and Ian MacFadyen. It is available from [email protected] or 0113 257 6232.

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Opinion: the battle for the Electoral Reform Society

One of the consequences of the failure of the AV campaign may be radical change at the venerable Electoral Reform Society. The ERS is conducting the biennial election for its Council at the moment with no less than 53 candidates standing for election to fill 15 places. There is also a range of motions at the AGM on 3 September, some of which would make fundamental changes to the ERS.

The main prize for anyone who controls the ERS is financial – they have by pressure group standards a huge income through their ownership of Electoral …

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Opinion: Forget open primaries, and go for STV instead

During the debate on MPs’ expenses at the Lib Dem conference recently, one of the speakers, Michael Meadowcroft, suggested that instead of having open primaries as a way of restoring trust in the political process, why not use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) instead?

STV has been the preferred voting system of the Liberal party and Liberal Democrats for many decades, and was championed by the greatest liberal of all, John Stuart Mill, in the nineteenth century. This week Gordon Brown announced that Labour, if re-elected, would propose a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) system, in which instead of marking your ballot paper with an X, you write down your preferences by rank, 1, 2, 3, etc …

The problem with AV is that you are still only electing one person per constituency.

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