Tag Archives: radix

Politics as an Article of Faith

For tribal politicians the primacy of one’s party is an article of faith but the 2019 election must give many loyal Lib Dem a dose of political agnosticism, if not atheism.  Even the most committed party member should be asking themselves what the party is for or if it still serves any purpose at all.

At the least it must be a mouthpiece for liberal ideals of openness, inclusivity and justice.  But it must be more than just a cry in the wilderness.   Politics need to deliver change, either directly in government or indirectly by influencing others.   At the moment the Liberal Democrats are capable of neither, nor do they look capable of reinventing themselves.

From 1945 onwards the old Liberal Party had little interest in direct political power nationally, instead seeing itself as a political think tank, churning out detailed policies to be adopted by others.

Only with the advent of the Alliance did the party once again take a serious interest in national power.  But when Blair adopted large parts of its constitutional agenda it was bereft of new liberal insights, while uniquely liberal ideas – such as a citizen’s income – were quietly abandoned in the name of political pragmatism.

By 1997, the party’s most prominent policy was to raise tax to help pay for education, a technocratic proposal.   Still it was a message that appealed to the campaigners, enabling them almost to double their Parliamentary representation despite a declining poll rating.  For this reason, the party assumed a pride in its campaigning  ability to deliver electoral success against the odds.

In fact, this remains a self-deception.  One has to look back to the 2001 election to find the party winning seats ‘against the head’ in rugby parlance and more often than not it failed to take advantage of polling advances.

Posted in Op-eds | 28 Comments

Radix and the Liberal ecosystem

One of the huge successes of Blairism was creating an ecosystem of thinkers around new Labour who set the tone for political debate throughout the 90s and beyond. Left of centre think tanks had a symbiotic relationship with the party and the centre left media, who could be relied upon to be sympathetic. When Blair eventually took power the party recruited many policy advisers and senior staff from this ecosystem: Campbell and Mandelson, Patricia Hewitt from the IPPR and Geoff Mulgan from Demos, who became the Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit.

The political centre ground – including …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 29 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKevin Langford 5th Jul - 5:11pm
    3) on party strategy; this has many elements. In relation to the points raised a) We need to have some consistent, clear and distinctive things...
  • User AvatarKevin Langford 5th Jul - 5:10pm
    So quite a bit to respond to here - and apologies to some that I was out when this went live! To pick up three...
  • User AvatarTom Arms 5th Jul - 4:39pm
    Manfarang, I know you are right in asserting that there are Israelis who actively advocate a settlement which satisfies both the Jewish and Palestinian communities....
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 5th Jul - 4:06pm
    @ Paul Barker, In principle nothing needs a referendum. Not even a constitutional matter. But if you think you see Tory and Labour MPs voting...
  • User AvatarAntony Watts 5th Jul - 3:21pm
    I would add * make technology, digital, work for green
  • User AvatarAntony Watts 5th Jul - 3:18pm
    Stop belly aching. No good just shouting "the government didn't do this or that. Just say what we would do, loudly and long