Unlocking Liberalism: Life After the Coalition

unlocking liberalismA source of inspiration and optimism for Liberal Democrats and an important chapter in the body of Liberal Democrat Discourse. A book that could help provide the road for the party to take in 2015 and beyond.

On average there are over 200,000 books published every year in the United Kingdom and nobody can read them all! But if you’re a Liberal Democrat, or are interested in knowing more about how we think, the book whose title I have mentioned above could be the one book from 2014 that you may have missed and should not miss any longer!

It is a wonderful collection of essays predominantly by distinguished Scottish Liberal Democrat members, written just before the Independence Referendum, but published only after the result! Whatever else that referendum may have or not achieved, it certainly has sharpened political thinking and this book is one result of that process.

My first impression was that most of the contributors were from the left of the party, obviously a group  that may not be naturally comfortable in this period of coalition with the conservatives. Yet they have been able to celebrate some of the Liberal Democrat achievements in coalition, and more importantly, they have produced what I would consider as a masterful account of what could follow in its aftermath.

This book will be relevant to all Liberal Democrats wherever they may be, and will provide a lot of hope and optimism, especially to people from an SDP background, Social Liberals, in fact anyone from the left of the party who may be struggling with the recent direction of the party.

They have provided a blueprint for taking the party back to its grassroots and have argued a case for renewing the radical liberalism that many of our members joined the party to express and celebrate!

It is a MUST READ for ALL the Westminster Candidates of the party in the run up to May 7, 2015, and will be a very useful guide for ALL party members in the days and weeks that follow polling day. I have myself been influenced by this book and I hold it close to myself as a source of reference and inspiration.

You can buy ‘Unlocking Liberalism: Life After the Coalition’ from Amazon, or by post for £11 from Liberal Futures, c/o 4 Church Road, Bo’ness EH51 0EL

* Pramod Subbaraman is the Liberal Democrat PPC for Edinburgh South

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This entry was posted in Books.


  • Peter Hayes 9th Mar '15 - 10:13pm

    Why advertise it is available by Amazon the well known tax haven in Luxembourg?

  • Pramod Subbaraman 10th Mar '15 - 7:22am

    Hi Peter

    One of the Editors has been in touch with LDV to remove the Amazon bit for precisely the reason you have mentioned!

  • “…This book will be relevant to all Liberal Democrats wherever they may be, and will provide a lot of hope and optimism, especially to people from an SDP background, Social Liberals, in fact anyone from the left of the party who may be struggling with the recent direction of the party.”

    Does anyone know what % of our remaining members were once members of The SDP ?

    I remember Keith House (who knew about this sort of thing) saying fifteen years ago that the figure was quite small even then.

    Does anyone now how many members the party is claiming at the moment?
    Has the number really dropped below 40,000 as someone in the media was claiming?

  • Steve Comer 10th Mar '15 - 3:36pm

    Just over the 40,000 Lib Dem members according to an e-mail I saw today.

    Interesting that the author of the piece lumps together “especially to people from an SDP background, Social Liberals.” My memory of the 1980s was that it was Social Liberals who were the most ‘merger-sceptic’ and distrusted the motives of many of the right wing Labour types who defected to the SDP.

    Given that the curent party was formed in 1988, even the youngest members of the former SDP and Liberal Party have to be in their mid to late late 40s by now…..Surely the majority of the 40,000 members joined since 1988?

    As for after Coalition surely the die is already cast for the scnario post May 7th:
    Clegg holds Sheffield Hallam by a few hundred votes
    He remains Leader with the enthusiastic endorsement of Paddy Ashdown & all the party grandees for four more years (or is it 14 more years)
    Half the Lib Dem MPs have lost their seats, but that half is disporoprtionately Social Liberal – key Clegg acolytes have held on (just)
    Social Liberals leave the party in disgust thus strengtheneing the hold of the ‘Orange Book’ tendency
    The Tories have won a plurality of votes, but are just short of an overall majority in Parliament
    Cue ‘Rose Garden mk 2’ another ‘Unionist coalition’, lots of cuts and privatisation, a shrinking of the state, a Europe referendum, and the transformation of the once proud Liberal Democrat Party into an English and Welsh version of the FDP (or worse still the PLI)
    Lord Alexander of Inverness becomes Chacellor as George Osborne moves to the Foreign Office just before the economy collapses…………….
    The coalition falls just after Britain narowly votes top leave the EU, and in the subsequent General Election the public vote to ‘hang on to nurse’ and the Tory Party wins a narrow overall majority, and can serve a full term in office aided by the tacit support form the 10 UKIP MPs

  • Steve Comer 10th Mar ’15 – 3:36pm……

    Don’t; please don’t…. The ‘likely’ scenarios are bad enough…

  • Steve Comer 10th Mar ’15 – 3:36pm

    Steve, your memory of the 1980s is entirely correct. There were some rum rightwingers fleeing the Parliamentary Labour Party at the time. Nowadays people seem to think it was all people like Charles Kennedy and Shirley Williams but some of the Labour MPs who defected to the SDP were slightly to the right of Ronald Reagan.

    Your nightmare scenario for later in 2015 is not impossible. I hope to goodeness it does not come to pass.

  • SIMON BANKS 10th Mar '15 - 9:49pm

    Steve – I don’t see why you assume (if you really are doing) that the election will eliminate more Social Liberal MPs than Cleggites. I can think of several ultra-loyalists very unlikely to get back and of critics or sceptics who seem very unlikely to fail. It is useful, though, that your post undermines the comfortable assumption among many Liberal Democrats unhappy with the current direction of the party, that Nick Clegg will resign if we lose a lot of MPs. The people closest to him have most to lose by him ceasing to be leader. Those who want him out might need to be prepared to shove.

    Trying to be neutral, it does seem to me that at the very least if we lose a third or a half of our seats, there should be a clear-the-air leadership election and Nick Clegg could stand (John Major-like) if he wanted.

  • John Tilley
    Although we have the usual “influx” (well, two or three!) members prior to their becoming council candidates, there are, to my certain knowledge people leaving at the moment. Possibly because high profile politics reminds them of rhetoric and policies they don’t like very much?

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