Tag Archives: reform the reformers

Reform the Reformers. Part four CONCLUSION Key themes in reforming ourselves

The Liberal Democrats are the UK’s real reformers, with a heritage that goes way back beyond the formation of the Whigs, Liberals and Lib Dems. 

The long quest for liberal democracy has passed such milestones as the Magna Carta, abolition of serfdom, elections to a parliament, repeal of the Corn Laws, votes for women, and eventual universal suffrage and equality before the law. This fight against impunity, monopoly & mercantilism has been our fight;  checking the power of the elites and doggedly pursuing the public interest and tackling poverty, in the wake of stiff resistance.

Somehow these traditions have been diluted in the minds of the public; whittled away by unseen Marxist assumptions, and by the theft of economic liberalism in the service of wealthy corporations, whilst losing the drive against monopoly power along the way. We suffer from these dilutions, especially in the ideological schisms in left & right wings. We must address this to survive.

One wing’s is too permissive of an overbearing and inefficient state, the other too permissive of monopoly and destructive finance; but liberal democracy opposes both. 

Both wings regrettably gloss over the quality of regulation, taxation and spending, in a poorly-defined spat over quantity. Both wings of the party are relatively ‘soft on monopoly’, which thus runs against a central raison d’être of liberal democracy.

Unity is key for survival, and this is why; the public ask ‘what are the LibDems for ?’  The bare truth of it is that there are two main rival approaches to reform, LibDems & Labour, and one status quo party, the Conservatives. Few perceive it thus. We exacerbate the problem by unknowingly adopting Marxist assumptions, for example with the frequent debates about choices between more liberty and less equality or vice versa, when through the ages liberal democracy has been about equality through liberty. (Ask a former slave).

Posted in News | 37 Comments

Reform the Reformers – Part 3, The Search for a ‘Big Idea’

Liberal Democrat activists will be familiar with two apparently contradictory refrains.

One is that Liberal Democrats should pursue what is morally right for the country, regardless of public opinion. The other is that ‘no-one ever voted Lib Dem because of our policy on (… insert obscure policy…)’.

The point of the latter refrain is that the public’s problem-solving priorities should dominate policymaking effort.

There is another, potentially reconciling, refrain; that liberal democracy in the UK needs a new popular ‘big idea’. Opposition to the Iraq war is a common reference point, a major contributor to Liberal Democrats having 60+ MPs in the Commons. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Reform the Reformers – Part 2, Challenges in Updating Liberal Democracy

There are two types of people in this world. Those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t.

The rise of left and right wing populism points reformers towards updating liberal democracy.

The remedies that left and right populists peddle are remarkably similar; one-party regimes, state control of the economy, dismantling the ‘separation of powers’, nationalism, and a rapid increase in state spending.

Less attention, however, is paid to the parallel rise of liberal, pro-democracy parties in government; Canada, Netherlands, South Korea, Malaysia, Ireland and elsewhere.

There are many lessons to be learned from liberal-democratic parties in these countries, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Dec - 1:38pm
    Devolution, at its worst, is simply handing out the responsibility but with the power. It's happening in Wales now. There will be no point complaining...
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 16th Dec - 1:35pm
    One of the problems we have with regard to university education is that academic intelligence is the only intelligence that is valued with the result...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 16th Dec - 1:19pm
    A Federal solution is a possible answer. Not ‘balkanisation’ as (far from) ‘Innocent Bystander’ envisages. It could go something like this: A Federal Parliament in...
  • User AvatarFiona 16th Dec - 1:10pm
    I had meant to include in my comment something about further devolution including an adapted Barnet type formula. There already exists fiscal transfer across the...
  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 16th Dec - 12:33pm
    More English devolution nonsense. Firstly the English will never accept the Balkanisation and destruction of England and secondly the author never mentions the key word...
  • User Avatarexpats 16th Dec - 11:43am
    iona 15th Dec '18 - 4:34pm.............75% going to university is neither realistic, nor desirable IMO. Switch ‘going to university.......... Most of the young population going...