Tag Archives: radical liberalism

Liberals must be clear: the system is broken and we want to fix it

The system is broken. We all know it – voters and politicians alike. And as liberals we must make the acknowledgement of this failure a key part of our message.

Liberals have long argued that the system robs people of their natural rights as citizens. We are against concentrations of power in the hands of vested interests – whether in the private or public sector. And yet these concentrations of power are everywhere we look – whether it’s multinationals or public life.

We want an equitable and accountable political class, but the one we have is elected under a shady form of democracy or appointed by a government elected on minority support. We want a fair tax and social security system that rewards ambition and protects the vulnerable, but we are a long way from it. And we want to reform the economic system that is destroying our environment, but powerful interests are causing that to happen too slowly.

The current political and economic system is preventing all the systemic changes we need. And by doing so it has allowed powerful people with malign intent to drag this country to the edge.

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments

Thinking the unthinkable is fun and might just lead us somewhere interesting

Have you ever wondered if there’s a policy the Lib Dems could be promoting that simply isn’t part of the political landscape? One that doesn’t fall under economics, health, education, environment or any of the traditional categories of modern-day politics?

This question was raised during the ‘Radical Liberalism’ fringe meeting held in Southport last weekend, which was part of the Social Liberal Forum’s fringe programme and which I chaired. The meeting itself was very unlike most fringe meetings which focus on a speaker or two from the top table – this was more of a brainstorming session, and I threw in a number of questions at various intervals to guide the debate. The result was that most of the 80 or so people who packed out the room contributed to the discussion.

About half-way through, I asked whether there were any policies that people might like to throw into the mix which weren’t currently on the political map, even if they may seem a bit off-the-wall. I said they might well not be viable, but sometimes thinking the unthinkable leads to ideas that might not otherwise emerge.

The first suggestion was that we might advocate moving the capital from London to somewhere more central. The person suggesting it wasn’t just arguing for geographical fairness, but saying it doesn’t help us to have the country’s administrative and democratic centre in the primary financial hub, and that London should be allowed to become like Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Zürich which are major cities but don’t host national parliaments and governments.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 26 Comments
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