Tag Archives: the generous society

Julian Huppert writes….’The Generous Society’ – a vision for a liberal Britain

Liberalism has offered a lot to the UK over the decades. Liberal thinker John Stewart Mill was an early champion of female suffrage and the abolition of the slave trade. The last Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, started the modern welfare state; the Liberal William Beveridge’s totemic report led to the creation of the National Health Service, and the great Liberal economist John Maynard Keynes set out how economic tools operate and could be used to benefit citizens.

Liberalism is still a crucial philosophy now – possibly the only antidote to the authoritarian, centralising tendencies coming from some on the economic left and right, and the best response to surveillance capitalism, excessive consumerism, and the perils of an over-free market.

However, at the present time it is not well articulated. Its values are too often conflated with neo-liberalism or libertarianism – two very different world views, for all their linguistic similarity. The Liberal Democrats, who still carry the banner of liberalism, have stumbled in recent years, too often lost in discussions of the Coalition and seen as fundamentally pro-European, rather than fundamentally Liberal. It has failed to articulate a clear liberal vision for too long.

There are liberals in almost all UK parties, and among those who do not feel connected to any political movement. Some do not realise that they are liberals, because they have not yet seen a clear description of what a liberal is, and what the underpinning drive is for liberalism.

It is for all these reasons that we set out to produce a vision for what Britain could be. Entitled ‘the Generous Society’, it dreams of a country where we can all be generous, to ourselves and to each other. Our vision is to see individual freedom, human diversity and ingenuity, and natural beauty flourish and advance within a generous and free society.

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