Tag Archives: Liberal Democrats. Lib Dems

A thought – Community Economics, isn’t it time to revisit?

I’ve just finished re-reading the ‘The Theory and Practice of Community Economics’ by Bernard Greaves and David Boyle. With the Lib Dem’s in government and Party President Tim Farron recently writing about the way
forward for the Party being through ‘ …. competence, credibility and community politics…’ (http://www.libdemvoice.org/tim-farron-writes-enough-doom-and-gloom-we-have-the-greatest-opportunity-in-the-history-of-our-party-24229.html),
wouldn’t this be a good moment for the Party to look again at Greaves and Boyle’s arguments and construct a more detailed ‘theory and practice’ on which to go forward for the next four years? Or has this already been done?

Published by ALDC¹ in 2008 and sub-titled ‘Building on the ideology of community politics and extending its application into the field of economics’, it’s still available from http://www.aldc.org/shop/


ALDC¹ – Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors

Leave a comment

Filed under Liberal Politics, Politics

What Lib Dem’s think

Interesting picture of Lib Dem members attitudes:


Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, UK Politics

Lib Dem’s are…

Interesting piece on Lib Dem identity:


Leave a comment

Filed under Liberal Politics, Politics, UK Politics

Time to join the Liberal Democrats? (If you’re a liberal living in Great Britain that is)

Looking in from the outside these days, British and particularly Liberal politics is clearly going through a period of significant and dynamic change.

The Liberal Democrats have had (and are still trying) to adjust to the realities of going from a party of protest to a party in power. To me, this process has also opened up the question (beyond the late night activist drinking debates and occasion think tank paper) as to the nature of the Party and what is the Liberal tradition.

For some Party members and the wider public this debate is bring to the fore, for the first time, just how much ideologue and principles underpin the Liberal Democrats (despite the odd, highly regrettable, pledge breaking trade off with the Tories for other policy gains). Even at a superficial level the newspapers have been talking about Orange book and Yellow book Liberals. Read the more in depth articles and the Liberal blogs and there you have the social Liberals arguing with the (left) radical Liberals, arguing with the (left) libertarian Liberals, hammering at the (right) libertarian Liberals, getting irritated by the classical Liberals, in turn being frustrated by the centrist Liberal democrats, while they for their part try to make sense of green Liberals. But each of these strands forms part of the ideological traditions which have shaped the Party. They have coexisted, intermingled and been sustained through members support for particular Party policies, Party groupings and approaches such as community politics.

For the Party and individual members committed to a rational and practical approach to politics the switch from opposition to government means having to address some painful realities about the contradictions and challenges within the different strands of Liberalism. But they are strands not separate ideologies and most individuals, as well as the Party, draw their personal programme from a range of these traditions. For instance, I tend to describe myself as a radical, social and green Liberal, but faced with looking at the Party not in opposition but in government I’m discovering how radical compared to social or social compared to green I am in this current economic climate.

The present debate around the Party’s identity has gone through the usual ‘is it or should it be’ on the centre left or in the centre (and occasionally even argued slightly to the ‘centre right’)? The press and opponents (and even Party members) like to simplify this first by phrasing the question as nearer Labour or the Tories. This was particularly the case in the early months of the coalition. Now the debate seems to be returning to the assertion that most Party members eventually make which is that they and the Party are Liberal, progressive (and concerned about poverty, fairness and individual freedom). Oddly, given the loss of distinctiveness in the early days of entering government, the real advantage now of being in government (even a coalition with the Tories) is that for the Party has the potential to be defined by its own core principles for the first time in post war Britain. The problem to overcome is that in many countries it’s the junior partner in a coalition that struggles to gain credit for its influence and can end up taking the blame for unpopular decisions.

The existence of such ideological Liberalism (rational & practical in all its forms) really has been a bit of a surprise to many in the outside world, who had always thought that the Lab/Tory accusation of ‘muddled middle with no roots’ had more than a grain of truth in it. However, unlike the other ‘big’ parties (who in most other political systems would have split into their separate and very different component parts long ago) the Lib Dems are in the main a coalition of Liberal traditions and community activism.

This mix of Liberal thinking is a strength and defining characteristic of the Lib Dems in Britain. This becomes very clear when you sit in a country in which these traditions are split and submerged within Parties across the political spectrum. In or out of government, whether for or against a particular policy, if you believe in progressive rational politics then a vibrant Liberal party encompassing the breadth of the Liberal tradition is something worth having and enriches the body politic.

With elections on the horizon, major policy arguments in the coalition, as well as the Party beginning to look outwards again, there has in recent weeks been a notably increase in discussion about the value of the Lib Dems, why you really should join (rejoin), and the positive impact the Party is having in government. Below is a cross section of such articles:






And Simon Hughes view on the coalition reported today:


And finally an interesting observation on the direction of the Labour Party:


Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, UK Politics

Liberal leader quits after poll blows

The BBC have a report on Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s resignation as head of the liberal Free Democrat Party (FDP) and as deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Here in Austria the reports on the FDP’s poor election results have focused upon the Party’s support for Nuclear Power and failure to deliver on tax cut promises. So not really the comparable link some websites in the UK have been trying to make with the position of the Lib Dems.


Leave a comment

Filed under Liberal Politics, Politics

Lib Dems still want to axe tuition fees

The BBC are reportsing that Deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes has said his party remains committed to axing tuition fees.


Simon Hughes also wrote an interesting piece about the educational maintaince allowance (EMA):


I was surprised to discover via Twitter that Labour had been committed to scrapping the EMA


1 Comment

Filed under Politics, UK Politics

So are the Lib Dems still relevant?

Steve Richards (The Independent’s chief political commentator) article provides a balanced and interesting analysis of the Lib Dems role in the UK government which he sees as abenevolent and growing force:


Leave a comment

Filed under British Politics, Liberal Politics, Politics