Tag Archives: richard grayson

I’m sorry to see Richard Grayson resign, but I’m sticking with the party of liberalism thanks

I was sorry to see Richard Grayson has resigned from the Lib Dems. We’ve met only once. It was at the 2010 Brighton party conference when we were interviewed together for Radio 4’s The Westminster Hour. As I noted at the time:

I felt almost sorry for Richard as we chatted beforehand, a loyal liberal and Lib Dem who finds it baffling to be almost a lone voice making the case against Coalition within the party. … the Coalition — if not always the Coalition policies — is broadly popular across the membership, and across the different sections of

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 31 Comments

Richard Grayson resigns from the party

richard graysonOr, as he explains in his lengthy article on Compass, Richard Grayson’s membership has lapsed and he is not renewing. Richard was the party’s Director of Policy prior to 2004, Vice Chair of the Federal Policy Committee, PPC in Hemel Hempstead in 2010 and a founder member of the Social Liberal Forum.

He writes:

… the sad conclusion I have come to is that I have more faith in Labour and the Greens, than I do in the Liberal Democrats to put forward a package of policies which former Liberal

Posted in News | 149 Comments

Lib Dem members launch group opposed to the coalition

The Guadian reports:

The first Liberal Democrat group openly opposed to the coalition is to be launched at the party’s spring conference in Gateshead next month with a warning that the coalition has been a political disaster for the party, as well as a denial of its radical roots.

Launching a website on Wednesday, the group Liberal Left said it hoped to become a rallying point for members opposed to the coalition and those who see the party as a centre-left organisation seeking common cause with Labour, Greens and others on the centre left.


Posted in News | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

10 Lib Dems call for emergency recovery programme

From today’s Guardian:

We write to express broad support for the Compass Plan B proposals reported in the Observer (30 October). We are Liberal Democrat members who have campaigned hard for decades in national and local elections. We have also engaged in our party’s policymaking. For both reasons, we take seriously the policies on which we fought the last general election, in particular the belief that the Conservatives’ economic proposals would have dire consequences.

In May 2010, our party signed up, through the coalition agreement, to a series of policies against which it had recently campaigned. But out of responsibility to the …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 53 Comments

LibLink: Richard Grayson – NHS reforms: Listen to your party, Nick, or the voters will punish you

Writing on Comment Is Free on Sunday, Professor Richard Grayson warns Liberal Democrats in government against ignoring the calls of party members to re-think elements of the planned NHS changes.

Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

If the Liberal Democrat leadership is wise (and they have said that they want to listen to the party), it will now act to the advantage of both the party and the NHS. Unless the leadership actually agrees with the reforms, why continue to support them now that they have such an opportunity to amend them significantly? The party leadership must tell the

Posted in LibLink | 26 Comments

Eight former Liberal Democrat candidates take part in Labour’s policy-making process

On Friday former Liberal Democrat policy director and Parliamentary candidate Richard Grayson announced more details of his response to Ed Miliband’s invitation to encourage Lib Dems to take part in Labour’s policy review. The details came in the form of an article due to be published in Liberator:

I saw that invitation as part of an effort to move Labour away from the tribalism which has been such a feature of its past. I have long been committed to pluralism and have a history of working with people from other parties. I have done that for some time through Compass, and

Posted in News | Also tagged | 47 Comments

The political thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945: book review

Kevin Hickson’s volume, The political thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945, may be a short volume from an academic publisher with an academic book price tag to boot (look out for cheaper second-hand copies) but its contributors include many political practitioners. With Vince Cable, Steve Webb, David Howarth , Richard Grayson and Duncan Brack amongst them, this book has a very strong representation of people at the coalface of policy making rather than simply those who know of it only in theory.

As Hickson points out in the book’s introduction, the policies of the Liberal Democrats – even more so than other aspects of the history of the party and its predecessors since 1945 – have had very little coverage in books, an omission which this volume sets out to remedy and which political fortunes in the year after the book’s publication has made all the more useful a task to tackle.

Posted in Books, Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

The Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011: defining and explaining economic fairness

This is the final piece in a series of posts on the main Liberal Democrat challenges for 2011. You can find all the posts in the series here.

Having started this series with the economy and then moving on to more internal issue in latter posts, it seems fitting to return to economic issues for the final post in this series.

Getting the substance on economic fairness right is and should continue to be a top priority for the party. In addition, getting the messaging right will help differentiate not only the Liberal Democrat contribution to the coalition from that of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 6 Comments

More on Richard Grayson, Liberal Democrats and ideology

A footnote to my piece earlier this week about Richard Grayson’s pamphlet. In it I commented:

What I think Richard under-plays is the way the party’s attitude towards the state has changed not in response to different internal ideological views gaining ascendancy but rather in response to changing external circumstances. Given the huge expansion in public spending in the middle years of the Labour government, and the big expansion of central control in the early, middle and late years of Labour government, it is hardly a surprise that many who previously instinctively reached for more public spending and new regulations

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

The ideological background to coalition

Richard Grayson (former head of policy for the party and one of the leading lights behind the Social Liberal Forum) has written a thoughtful pamphlet for Compass about the different strains of thought within the Liberal Democrats and what they mean for coalition government.

The subtlety of some of Richard’s views mean you have to read the whole piece to do them justice, but a flavour of his interpretation of the so-called social liberal versus economic liberal difference is given by these extracts:

One other point needs to be made about the supposed social-economic liberal divide is that for the vast bulk of the party, the issues concerned in the debate are not pressing. In a thoughtful blog, party activist and thinker Iain Sharpe said of a speech I gave in Newcastle in February 2009, ‘I wince a little when I read Richard Grayson’s reference to “two approaches” to Lib Dem policy, “Orange Book” and “social liberal”.’ Iain went on to say, ‘This makes me feel more uncomfortable as I, and no doubt many other Lib Dems, don’t fall neatly into either camp, and don’t find them mutually exclusive.’10 On that basis, I think Iain was right to criticise what I said. I am certainly clear that such a divide does not exist for most members. As I shall argue below, the party is relatively under-factionalised. Indeed, ‘Orange Bookers’ are a very small section of the party, probably a much smaller section of the party than New Labourites were in their party – and they were never large in number. However, as labels for the directions from which much policy initia- tive has come, I defend the terms. While the party’s policy and principles have been broadly social liberal, a clear policy drive has come from the direction of The Orange Book

How then does this narrative help us to under- stand the way in which the coalition has been greeted within the Liberal Democrats? Why has there not been more internal opposition? In the first place, we must not underestimate the extent of tribalist knuckle-headed Labour opposition to a deal with the Liberal Democrats. John Reid and David Blunkett were the tip of an iceberg in a party where many despise ‘the Liberals’. Such people lining up to tell the media that a period of opposition would be best for Labour was a terrible disappointment for those Liberal Democrats who were openly calling for a deal with Labour.

In contrast, the leadership has been able to put forward an argument, which finds much favour in the ranks, that the party is getting much from the coalition deal. All are agreed that the Conservatives offered much more than anybody would ever have imagined. As Polly Toynbee said of the coalition agreement, ‘There are policies here that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling adamantly, and wrongly, refused to contemplate so wedded were they to New Labour’s rigid caution, triangulating themselves to death.’ That not only involves major constitutional reform but also a strong green strand and the sweeping away of some Labour legislation which posed threats to civil liberties. The leadership has been able to claim some success in the budget on matters as such as capital gains tax.

The most contentious section is where Richard argues that,

What the party still does not seem to recognise, or at least accept as a problem, is that the coalition can also be best understood as the preferred option of a leadership grouping which since it took over the party has consistently sought policies which will reduce the role of the state and steadily take a centre-left party to the centre- right. The major debates in the past two to three years have seen the small Orange Book tendency in the party steadily whittling away at broadly centre-left policies on, for example, the level of public spending, the level of income tax and roles of local government in education.

What I think Richard under-plays is the way the party’s attitude towards the state has changed not in response to different internal ideological views gaining ascendancy but rather in response to changing external circumstances. Given the huge expansion in public spending in the middle years of the Labour government, and the big expansion of central control in the early, middle and late years of Labour government, it is hardly a surprise that many who previously instinctively reached for more public spending and new regulations as the solution to problems now see both as having gone too far and a different emphasis needed instead.

You can read the full pamphlet below:

The Liberal Democrat Journal to a Lib-Con Coalition – Richard Grayson

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 50 Comments

LibLink: Richard Grayson – Lib Dems must dare to be different over prisoners’ voting rights

Over at The Guardian, Richard Grayson, a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and former director of policy for the party, argues that the Council of Europe ruling against the UK ban on prisoners voting offers the Lib Dems a chance to seize the initiative. Here’s an excerpt:

While Liberal Democrats have consistently made it clear that they understand the need to punish crimes (despite the way the party has been characterised as “soft on crime” by both Labour and the Conservatives), the party is generally most interested in stopping crime in the first place. One way to do that is to transform

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 41 Comments

Reinventing the State reprinted

I’m very pleased to say that Reinventing the State: Social Liberalism for the 21st Century has been reprinted with the first print run having sold out. The editors (myself, Duncan Brack and David Howarth) have taken the opportunity to relate the book to recent events by including a new foreword which explains why we think the ideas contained in the book are more relevant than ever. Among other points, we have said:

The collapse of the banking system worldwide has revealed the ultimate dependence of what had previously appeared to be free-standing market relationships on straightforwardly state institutions, such

Posted in Books | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Compass want Lib Dems at its conference

As a visitor to LibDemVoice you may or may not be aware of the work of Compass – the influential pressure group that campaigns for a more democratic, equal and sustainable world. Compass is about building a broadly based Liberal Left politics and as a Liberal Democrat activist we wanted to introduce you to our important work and to invite you to attend our National Conference on Saturday 13 June.

We believe that both the Tory and Labour leaderships want to turn back as soon as possible to the failed politics of the pre-crash – both in terms of the old economy …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 14 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Peter Davies
    Either that is a completely unreasonable administrative fee with no relation to the cost of finding and emailing the data or the administration of our court sys...
  • Nick Baird
    @Martin Bennett @David Allen - this Bill gradually bans tobacco, but it doesn't ban nicotine. Vapes containing nicotine, presumably along with gum and patches, ...
  • Marco
    Protecting people from themselves is not necessarily illiberal. This is why wearing a seatbelt is compulsory and selling Heroin is illegal. In this regard Mill'...
  • Peter Martin
    Transcripts for trials should be freely available to everyone. Those who are fighting against unjust convictions also face similar bills for thousands of pou...
  • Colin Paine
    Amazing that none of our MPs opposed this. I fully supported the ban on smoking in pubs due to the impacts on others, but what people do in their own homes or ...