Vince talks to Voice Part 4: Liberal ideas for the modern world – open, liberal, green

Here’s the final part of my chat with Vince Cable just after his keynote speech to Conference on Sunday.

I wanted to know what he meant about having a party “fizzing with ideas”

We’ve got these structures for policy making and they can be a bit clunky but they often produce some good creative stuff.  Instead of this just being confined to the usual small minority of policy wonks we open it up to the wider membership and get much more feedback. The whole point of being more digital is that it’s easier to engage people.

I set out some of the areas in the speech we should be thinking about. There are whole swathes of stuff I didn’t even begin to talk about – what you do about national defence in the new era of Russia. I hinted at tax but that’s a mega area. We’ve got to rethink the principles of it.

I think in a way the principles come before the policy. It’s easy to be geeks about policy but policy is something people in the party care about. I just want it opened up.

You might remember yesterday I was asked about universal basic income. My starting position is that it’s a seriously bad idea but if other people in the party care about it and can make the argument, let’s have that debate?

I asked if we have too much policy and not enough big picture stuff about who we are?

Yes. That was a good way of phrasing it. I tried to say that in a slightly more clumsy way myself.

There are certain kind of basic values that we start from. It’s about openness and international outlook, it’s about green, about getting this right mix between private enterprise and the state, the long standing belief in civil liberties. These are the underlying values and the policies stem from that.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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