Vince Cable MP writes…Changing the Liberal Democrats

Politics is changing in the UK and around the world. Conventional wisdom and assumptions are being blown away by people powered movements from Trump to Trudeau, from Macron to Brexit. Old style political parties face a simple choice – change or be swept away.

The Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history of approaching these transformational moments head on — by localising power, fostering diversity and nurturing creativity. We fight for our fundamental values of liberty, equality and community. In short, we live by the very principles that successful movements are built upon.

Earlier this year, we set a new direction for our party, by passing a motion at conference to “Create a political and social movement which encourages people to take and use power in their own lives and communities at every level of society.”

It is time to make good on this directive — to transform our party into a wider liberal movement that will bring positive change to Britain.

The proposals I am putting forward today for consultation with all our members involve building up our supporter base, opening it up – at no charge – to people who subscribe to our values. Some already help with leaflet delivery and in other ways.  I would like to see the party offer them the right to vote in future leadership elections, as a way of making them a part of our movement. Of course, we will need robust measures against entryism, and I am confident we can find the right mechanisms.

I am also suggesting that we make it easier for new members to stand for election on a Liberal Democrat ticket by removing the delay before they can be selected.

Another idea is to stop excluding good leadership candidates who share our values just because they have not yet pursued a career in Parliament. Of course they would need to meet appropriate standards, and command sufficient support in the party to be nominated.  This would widen the pool of leadership talent open to us, and signal our intention to be an open and inclusive force.

None of this detracts from the central importance of our issues-based campaigning against Brexit and for the People’s Vote.  It is about building up our strength to fight these battles, and those which lie beyond.

We have made good progress as a party in the past year, and I have taken a lot of pride in having worked alongside campaigners who in May recorded our best results for 15 years. But I am ambitious for the party, and want to see us go further and faster. These proposals are a starting point for building the movement we need to achieve that.

So please take every opportunity to participate in the very extensive consultation that is starting now. I am very keen to hear members’ views.

* Sir Vince Cable is MP for Twickenham and was leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2017 until 2019.

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  • Robin ashby 7th Sep '18 - 10:22am

    Insane to cannibalise your Base like this. Why on earth would many people pay a membership fee when they can just be a supporter? Just don’t believe robust entryism measures. Look what this sort of thing has done to Labour.

  • Bill le Breton 7th Sep '18 - 10:45am

    Not sure if Vince said the following that was trailed in the Evening Standard, “Whatever rights our new supporters gain, we as a party aim to be in constant conversation with them, engaging them in campaigns and urging them to begin campaigns of their own.

    “I want these not to be just about stopping things but about growing support for the things that matter to Liberal Democrat voters, and to the vast swathe of voters in the centre ground whom we are yet to persuade.

    “Groups like More United, 38 Degrees, Avaaz and have shown us how these regular conversations can happen, how we can engage hundreds of thousands of people online.

    I would ask you to look at the front pages of the websites of just two of these: and

    If what we produce over the next few months is something like 38 degrees, I would be in favour, but sorry to say this More United is an object lesson in how not to move forward. So, today we have just half the story.

    I wrote something here a few months ago about ‘Garage Politics’. The idea is that what is needed are active citizens who now how to build their own movements for change from their kitchens and garden sheds. And a body that can help them, co-ordinate with them, link them, energise them and gain energy from them and change neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities, regions and nations to be more Liberal, fuller of life chances, angry at situations where life chances are poor and liberties are being destroyed, and people suppressed. That body could and should be the Liberal Democrats.

    The ideas at the core of today’s speech would be necessary to achieve this bit not sufficient.

    I am up for the challenge to make it so.

  • David Allen 7th Sep '18 - 11:03am

    In principle, the idea that we might – occasionally – do well to elect a party leader from outside the ranks of MPs does make a certain amount of sense. However, to propose this now, and to make a big thing of the proposal, is just inviting scorn. The media will say that we are scraping the barrel and that we are looking forward to coping with the loss of all our MPs.

    If we must do this, then let’s make it a little thing, not a big propaganda point. Let’s restrict the pool to people already active as Lib Dems and elected to public office e.g. as MSPs, MEPs if we still have them (and perhaps, also appointed to a position in the Lords?). Let’s have a nomination threshold which involves MPs, so that any new leader has reasonable backing from MPs and isn’t a Corbyn-like cuckoo. If the English Macron is to emerge, he/she shouldn’t do it by taking over the Lib Dems.

  • Bill le Breton 7th Sep '18 - 12:01pm

    I see that Joe O (published at 11.24) has written something very similar to the piece I wrote above (published 10.45).

    Yet interaction between us and others is frustrated by pre-moderation.

    Why was pre-moderation thought necessary. What is there to fear, even if some take exception to the speech?

    Referring back to my point that there are two ways of managing relations between campaigners, this seems a case of institutional mistrust and desire for control.

    “Let a thousand flowers bloom” needs to be the watchword for the style of ‘movement building’ that Vince appears to be advocating.

    If these ideas fail it will because of this control-freakery. Pre-moderation makes my point eloquently.

  • In the local election results this year we achieved 16% of the vote down 2% from 2017 and only elected 542 councillors so how can our leader pretend it was our best result for 15 years? I was quite happy with the results especially the net gains of 76 (3 less than Labour) but that didn’t make them the best for 15 years only the best since 2010.

    In 2010 when mostly the same seats were fought we achieved 26% of the vote and managed to get elected 1730 councillors (according to Wikipedia 2010 figures, the figures may have been closer to 737 [from 2014 Wikipedia]). In 2006 again when mostly these seats were fought we achieved 25% of the vote and managed to get elected 909 councillors.

  • Sue Sutherland 7th Sep '18 - 12:53pm

    If we want to revolutionise the party we should be looking at its structures, methods of coming up with policy and its values, rather than extending a quasi membership to people who seem to Vince to be more worthy of involvement than existing members.
    When Vince became leader he went on a tour of Lib Dem members in all parts of the country. This was excellent but unfortunately he went to tell us what he thought rather than find out what we thought. There were questions but these were tightly controlled as they had to be written down and were then weeded out by local organisers. I think it unlikely that this only happened in my region.
    One member one vote was proudly touted as our unique selling point but whereas Labour has been now taken over by left wing activist members, our party, in Coalition, was taken over by people who did not listen to members but went off into a stratosphere in which political nouse was sadly absent.
    We should be practicing our political beliefs in our own party now, rather than antagonising existing members who have made donations they could sometimes ill afford to keep the party going, by implying that they have no political creativity. In fact there are already many new members who are longing to become involved with new ways of working but are held back by what they see as the local old guard or by a lack of information from HQ as to how they can get involved.
    An example is the Demand Better slogan that has been imposed on members without any consultation as far as I can see. The only way to change our party as an organisation is to put members first so that all decisions involve us. It’s possible to do this by offering options to us and we will trust that members’ opinions will heavily influence subsequent discussions rather than being offered uninspiring slogans like Demand Better and a Movement for Moderates. Where is the passion that many members feel and that our country desperately needs?

  • John Barrett 7th Sep '18 - 12:59pm

    Some thought needs to be given to many aspects of Vince’s proposals, but one that needs immediate consideration is just where do “supporters” stand if they decide to stand for election for any other party at any election.

    With paid up party members there is the sanction that they will lose their membership if they stand against the Liberal Democrat candidate. What sanction could there be if the person was not a party member and then decided, for whatever reason, that they wished to stand for election under any other banner?

    Committed local campaigners with a track record of support in the community are a scarce commodity and an asset to any party. We should sign up such people as members, not leave them as supporters, or other parties will do exactly that.

    As Someone who is still involved in a number of local community campaigns and issues, there are, at times, advantages of such campaigns being non political in order to widen the support form the local community. If I see a good campaigner, be in no doubt other party activists will also be aware of their potential and will sign them up, unless we get there first. Leaving such people as supporters would be a serious mistake.

  • David Allen 7th Sep '18 - 1:07pm

    Hmm. “Garage politics”, or “a radical and transformative opening up: have the party act as a support framework for you and your friends (as a “cell”) to campaign in your local community on whatever issue inspires you” or “Let a thousand flowers bloom” are all intuitively appealing ideas. However, they can also be seen as a retread of the old “community politics” idea, based on Lib Dem Focus Teams etc.

    In the old days, the reason for bringing a political party into “community politics” was supposed to be that local activities revolved around the local Council, and that radical new Lib Dems were needed to overthrow the two old parties whose dead hands were in control of the Council. Those were the days, when Councils mattered. They don’t much matter any more, of course, which is why the words have had to change.

    Unfortunately, there is another way of looking at all this. It is: “Find a good issue, something which lots of people want, like better health services, or action against a nuisance, or whatever. Then hijack that issue, and link it to one specific political party, who would like to use it as leverage to gain votes. Get in there before UKIP or the Greens, who could adopt a similar strategy, and sometimes do.”

    To which Joe Public is liable to answer “Get your hands off! You’re not helping!”

    If you tell the local Tory Council that you want a new pedestrian crossing for the greater glory of the Liberal Democrat party, then you’ll only put their backs up, and make them more determined to direct resources elsewhere. If, however, you can tell the Council that you are the nonpartisan Little Wotting Pedestrian Crossing Action Group, and that you all vote, you are much more likely to bring home the bacon!

  • This whole experience has left me with a lot of feelings and non of them positive. Where to start –

    *I managed to get out of work for 30 mins to watch a live feed that didn’t work.
    *This was all about opening up the party however it was held at a private club which cost thousands of pounds per year to be a member of. No community centres or even local branches free today?
    *This seems to be a done deal and people can registure already to be a supporter. I thought this would be up for debate and a vote?

    Like I said on the email survey, give a supporter the same rights as a member and I’m done with the libdems. I have friends that watched labour get overrun before their eyes.

    Instead of producing talent, good policies and a sense of belonging to party with a future. Instead I feel like I’m being pushed out and the party is looking to let any high profile clown in and hand them all the power they desire… amd hope it works out for the best.

    Wish i could have attended conference this year because I feel it’s going to be a messy one.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Sep '18 - 2:54pm

    I welcome any keen leadership, Sir Vince provides this.

    Bill is correct, we must be enthusiastic for cooperating with new ideas.

    Details are not worth fret and worry, the thing is we are open to improvement and know it.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Sep '18 - 3:04pm

    Broadening the supporter base, I can now see the point of. It would help break down the widespread perception I think there has been in the country, that the Lib Dems however sensible and moderate are a lost cause now, and ‘nothing to do with us’. This and the associated idea of co-operating where possible with moderates in other parties or none should help to bring us back into national relevance. We want people to feel that they are in sympathy with us and that this is an increasingly widespread feeling in the country. Increasing numbers will have agreed with us over opposing Brexit, but many have felt – misguidedly as it turns out! – that it was needful to vote Labour in the GE last June. These ideas should begin to turn the tide and make people feel it is worthwhile to vote for us and our ideas again when the opportunity arises.

    However, we must not then relax back into the pleasant feeling of being acceptable! We need to keep our strong core, our hard work, and our central sense of purpose and drive. As Michael BG suggests, it is a long road back from getting 16% of the vote in May this year to getting 26% again as in May 2010. We need council candidates and councillors elected. They need, however new they are, to be members prepared to work hard straight away towards the May elections. And similarly, whoever is elected as Leader to succeed Vince eventually, he or she if Conference makes the change will need to be a person who has fought hard and won elections and is already a leader in their area and in the party. Meantime, we need central and local campaigns to be pursued in addition to the anti-Brexit campaign, to put over our outstanding policies to the public.

  • The consultation paper makes this point: “The experience of the Canadian Liberal Party is instructive. They welcomed over 300,000 supporters in a similar scheme, governed by similar protections, without a single credible threat to the integrity of their party.”

    It is far too easy NOT to reach out to people that is clearly the route to failure – “how dare they want to join my nice little party” or be unconsciously perhaps unwelcoming. Do we do enough to ensure people can get to party meetings if you are young or old for example just getting transport to a meeting can be difficult and expensive, or they can be held at times which are difficult to make for some people.

    It is too easy to say that they might different opinions/views. If LDV demonstrates anything it is that when two Lib Dems meet they will not agree – at least not on everything! We have a clear statement of values in the preamble to our constitution. And we have a set of not-bad IMHO radical liberal policies. If people want a different party then they clearly have (at least) two other choices.

    Our membership is too skewed towards – London and the South, male, pale (hopefully NOT stale!) and ABC1 socio-economic groups. It is a problem of the membership of ALL political parties – but we fail if we don’t try and reach out and correct it.

    The paper also notes: “The principle behind a supporter scheme is to tear down the barriers to entry to the party – both financial and in terms of perception.”

    Perception is key – people THINK that to be a member you have to sell your soul to the party and deliver 3 million leaflets! They may well be more likely to dip a “toe in the water” as a registered supporter.

    Clearly we should also – if we are to build a broad-based less “skewed” party we should reduce the MINIMUM membership fee to a pound.

  • paul barker 7th Sep '18 - 5:21pm

    I would like to start by thanking everyone involved in developing this & the LDV Team for the moderation.
    In general, I like these proposals & I think they have a good chance of transforming our prospects.
    I am fairly optimistic that our current slow recovery could continue if nothing really big happens; unfortunately a whole bunch of very Big Things are queuing up to happen. We should have been doing this a Year ago, the ground is already moving under our feet.
    Just a few weeks ago there were no Ex-Labour MPs sitting as Independents, now there are 3 & that number seems likely to rise. Its very hard moving from one Party to another but the creation of a group of “Labour Independents” is an easy first step. At some point in the next Year a small group of currently Labour MPs will be deciding whether to join us or form a New Party & form an Alliance with us. I dont see that as a threat but as a great opportunity & building a Supporters Movement will help that process
    Theres a lot to think about in these proposals but lets approach them with openess & optimism.

  • David Evershed 7th Sep '18 - 5:40pm

    I don’t see any barriers to entry to Lib Dem membership as things currently stand.

    On the contrary many of the new members since 2015 are very much semi-detached and participate very little in the party other than paying their member fee (much welcome) and making the odd internet comment. So they are effectively ‘supporters’ now. There is no need for a supporters group because it already exists – they are the majority of members.

    What the party really needs is for more of the current passive members to become activists.

    Reject the supporter proposal.

  • @David Evershed

    The aim must be to “upgrade” people – probable voters into definites through poster sites, helpers, donors, members, activists, councillors, MPs etc.

    At each point in the process – people become more committed to the Lib Dems and it has been noted how we lack a large “core” support. Registered supporters are a useful step in that process.

    As to members not being active – that is of course their right. But figures show that over 60% put up a poster at election time, 50% do some form of further work for us and of course if people are advocating on our behalf that is highly highly useful and important – and more likely if they feel they have a greater stake in us doing well It is work that I think most local parties don’t do well or even at all – working with their members and active supporters on working out what their skills are and how to ask them to do more and involve them more – and it is difficult and time-consuming.

    We may think that becoming a member is no big deal but some people are weary of it – getting them to go further than just voting for us is an important stepping stone. We also need to think how we offer better value for our members and our registered supporters (should we choose to have a scheme).

  • Sean Hyland 7th Sep '18 - 7:56pm

    I’m an ex party member and mostly LibDem voter. Looking at these proposals my first thought is thanks but no thanks. I do need to look further at the consultation paper. Initial views – why be a member for £70 when you can get potentially the same say for nothing, picking aspects from different political systems is no guarantee of success, if you are going to give supporters a vote how do you know who they are and their true intents.

    Also concerned about how all this will be voted on. It seems to bypass Conference as a separate vote will be held – is this allowed under existing party procedures and is it the start of other decisions being taken away from conference? As I said I’m not a member and don’t member the procedures.

    Final thought shouldn’t the focus be on continuing to develop and push liberal policies rather than potentially waste time and resources on processes that may not matter. Reminds me a little of Corbyns Labour party – they seem to be spending most of their time on internal matters and procedures.

  • Martin Land 7th Sep '18 - 8:35pm

    Daft nonsense for the social media age. Political participation becomes no more of a commitment than liking Kim Kardashian. This all just smacks of old people in a hurry. So, Vince, there is nothing to stop Derek Hatton, Ken Livingston and Nigel Farage from voting in the next leadership election – or standing? Farcical. I then hear, but it worked for Macron in France. Did it? I think the jury is out on that one.

  • Hopefully Conference will put an end to this insanity.

    It appears that Vince is trying to open the door to a Labour MP becoming next leader, elected by an influx of “supporters”. Even if this isn’t his plan, it could clearly follow as a consequence of the rule changes. If Conference is foolish enough to allow the party to be taken over in this way, despite the wishes of the paying membership, then they would deserve what may be coming.

  • Galen Milne 7th Sep '18 - 9:34pm

    We need to change how we engage and this sets a scene and a new sense of direction. The membership of the SNP boomed pre Yes vote on so called Independence. Our membership boomed post Leave vote, and even although this has as yet not transferred into our opinion poll rating this increase reflects a wider base than members alone reflects. Nothing ventured nothing gained so let’s give it a go – the alternatives continue to be the devil and the deep Blue sea.

  • Philip Knowles 7th Sep '18 - 9:53pm

    I’m sorry but whoever came up with Movement for Moderates wants sacking. Who wants to be moderate?
    I teach and practice Marketing and often we use archetypes to define the prospective customer base and their ideals and views. The archetype we need to attract is the Ruler. They want to be in charge of their own destiny. They want to be listened to and heard. They want to make a difference. They want to do things. Our party really isn’t listening to us it is talking at us.
    Brexit has brought some passionate and active people to the party. They don’t think that they are moderates – they think that they are radicals. The Liberal Democrats have always been radicals. We not be left or right but we’re as sure as Hell not centre either. We push the boundaries upwards instead. Gay marriage and the pupil premium isn’t moderate it’s radical.
    The policies have to come first. If we make bold, exciting policies we will attract the Rulers because they want to change things for the better – the Tories want the status quo and Labour don’t want to lose the power of the unions – they don’t want change. We do.
    Our one big policy in the 2017 General Election got lost in the ‘stinking dead cat’ thrown at Tim Farron. I suspect that Labour are suffering because a ‘stinking dead cat’ has been thrown at them too.
    We need to concentrate on our points of difference – our Unique Selling Points – or, as I prefer, our Unique Buying Points. We need to ask ourselves why should someone vote for us? It needs to be something that’s important to THEM not to us. What’s the benefit? Too much of our Brexit narrative has been about the negatives of leaving and not been translated to how it affects the person in the street. We’re passionate about fighting Brexit but our messages are thoughtful, considered and as boring as Hell!
    I don’t want to be part of a Movement for Moderates I want to Demand Better and the two statements are non-sequiturs.

  • Phil Wainewright 8th Sep '18 - 12:00am

    The way I look at this, it could go two ways.

    The Movement for Moderates could extinguish all radicalism in the Liberal Democrats.

    Or …

    The Liberal Democrats could provide radical leadership to the Movement for Moderates.

  • Philip is absolutely right. Pitching ourselves purely as “moderate” or simply splitting the difference between the other two parties (“not left, not right, but…”) will attract very few people and is a political dead end. Especially at a time when so many people, particularly the younger ones, are crying out for significant change. It is bad enough that our obsession with Brexit makes us look like the ‘status quo’ party, without extending this stance to our whole brand.

    Sometimes it seems as if the strategies that come out of our party overlook the small problem that the rest of the country is not mostly like Richmond-upon-Thames.

  • William Fowler 8th Sep '18 - 8:06am

    hmmm, you can be moderate and radical at the same time, and do it in a way that gets lots of votes. For instance, the recent energy cap is so pathetic I would like to see everyone involved from lowly civil servant to the minister sacked… failing that you can say that the alternative to Labour’s nationalisation is some much stricter and more coherent caps, starting with the removal of all standing charges and then relating the price consumers pay to the cost of the actual energy (somewhere between times three and four, which in turn would decrease over time). So say that factor is 3.5 at the moment, which would be the maximum the energy co’s could charge (3.5 x energy cost), it would then decrease to 3 over the next five years, forcing the energy co’s to work much more efficiently rather than relying on fantasy pricing to fund dividend payments. If you wanted to really grab headlines you could also mandate that the first twenty quid’s worth of energy per month would be free, just to encourage minimal energy usage (as does the removal of standing charges).

    That is just one example, there are endless opportunities for the party to get on the side of the consumer rather than business (conservatives) or bankrupt the country by expanding the State (Labour).

  • Peter Hirst 8th Sep '18 - 8:53am

    What matters in forming a movement is that the values and purpose of the movement is clearly delineated. Then for it to be easy to join and leave that movement. The privileges of being in the movement to me are secondary to the first two. So let’s be clear and easy to join.

  • Peter Martin 8th Sep '18 - 9:09am

    @ Paul Barker,

    “Just a few weeks ago there were no Ex-Labour MPs sitting as Independents, now there are 3”

    A slight problem with this argument, if you are hoping for a ‘stepping stone’ to the Lib Dems, is one of these is Frank Field and another is Javed O’Mara ! 🙂

  • Peter Martin 8th Sep ’18 – 9:09am……………………A slight problem with this argument, if you are hoping for a ‘stepping stone’ to the Lib Dems, is one of these is Frank Field and another is Javed O’Mara ! 🙂………………

    I also note that a supporter of a ‘new’ “progressive, moderate” party is Tony Blair.

  • I apologise for a diversion from this thread but, as Vice-Chairman of National Liberal club Ltd., I would like to correct Joe Chung’s statement (7th September, 2.13 p.m.) that Vince’s speech was held at “a private club which costs thousands of pounds per year to be a member of.” This is untrue. The 2018 rate for town members is £798, Country and Overseas members £710 and Junior Rates (from the age of eighteen) begin at £99. We are one of the least expensive clubs in London. These sums are, of course, beyond the means of many but financial books need to be balanced and our subscription remains below that of many golf clubs and gyms.

    I hope that LDV readers who will be at the Brighton Conference will come and visit our stall and find out more about us.

  • William Fowler 8th Sep '18 - 1:58pm

    Believe me, I am no fan of Blair BUT he is right on the ball regards how to stay in Europe, a second vote and getting the EU to come up with a better deal than they offered Cameron, esp around freedom of movement for low skilled workers who are subsidized by our remarkably generous benefit/tax credit/personal tax allowance.

  • I rarely agree with anything William Fowler posts, however the idea that part of regulating the energy sector should include the abolition of standard charges and then relating the price consumers pay to the wholesale price of the energy I think has merit. Gas is priced per Therm, but sold to the consumer in kiloWatts. So maybe we should first use the same units. If a therm costs 50 pence what does this equal per kiloWatts? Is it 1.71 pence per kWh. If so William’s idea would increase my price by increasing it from 2.345 times the wholesale price to 3.5 times. An increase of over £400 a year even after the savings on having no standing charges. While the maths of William’s idea needs more work, the principle looks sound. We could instead put a ceiling on the ‘factor’ by which the wholesale price can be increased by (say 2.5) and tell the energy suppliers that they have to abolish their standing charges over the next five years and it must be decreased by at least 15% of what it currently is every year.

  • paul barker 8th Sep '18 - 5:44pm

    These are exciting times & I would like to see a bit from optimism from some of the commentors on this thread.
    We have been making slow progress, if you discount one obviously “Rogue” Poll then an average of the last 10 Opinion Polls gives us 9.4% & an average of the last 5 puts us on 10%. In normal Times that would be cause for quiet satisfaction. These arent normal times though & we need to be breaking out of our “Third Party” ghetto. Lets give the “Movement ” idea a good try.

  • @Paulbarker – suppose you are right – it is good to be optimistic, but feels just a bit like make or break. If the moderates idea and a broader non-member supporter group works that will be great, but it will be hard to find a way back if it doesn’t.

  • Ruth Bright 9th Sep '18 - 5:26pm

    Perhaps it is a small thing, perhaps I am getting old, perhaps I missed it in the (ha-hum) teething problems over the live feed but it would have been nice for Vince (as Tim would have done) to offer some warm thanks to the thousands who have shown decades of commitment to the party before he told us that everything has to be shiny and new and that without shiny and without new and without people being able to “join” the party for free and without a moment’s thought we will all go to hell in a handcart.

    Tom Harney tells us on this site that he joined in 1959. Mick Taylor tells us he has been a member for 54 years. My Mum is a month shy of her 75th birthday and God alone knows what she will deliver in what by-election this week as in so many other weeks.

    Thanks Tom. Thanks Mick. Thanks Mum.

  • James Murray 9th Sep '18 - 6:21pm

    There should be something new to offer from a centrist party- not the same old, same old.

    Nick Clegg’s Radical Centrist idea is a lot better than the old Left-Right but let us be REALLY radical.

    The new LibDem should take the bull by the horns and consider embracing Referendum Politics and inserting it into its DNA as it is the purest form of Democracy.

    And by doing so emphasise the DEM part of LibDem.

    Realise that you do not make people responsible until you give them responsibility and this radical new approach to the idea of democracy, however the Leave/Remain pans out, will fire the palate of a now despondent electorate faced with a political tasteless choice.

    Switzerland, one the most successful, prosperous and modern market economies, has very low unemployment, a highly skilled labour force, and a per capita GDP amongst the highest in the world the country AND is run by referenda.

    The people need only 100,000 signatures on a petition to initiate such a people’s vote in a referendum and their politicians MUST, by law, follow that plebiscite decision.

    So, there are 7-9 referendums a year on various subjects – the politicians putting into effect the decisions of the people are left with much less power that here.

    Now, that is true Democracy….

    Jim Murray

  • Peter Watson 10th Sep '18 - 4:28pm

    This week a whole bunch of fee-paying members are going to Brighton to have a say on party policy. What benefits will fee-paying members who don’t or can’t do that have over non-fee paying supporters?

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