Letter published in The Times, 29/05/2014

There’s no escaping just how strongly the electorate has rejected our party’s offer in the European and local elections, with a few welcome exceptions. Such heavy losses can’t be attributed just to no longer being a party of opposition, even if governing as a junior member of a coalition means supporting policies many of us disagree with. Nor is it just down to the Lib Dems being an isolated voice in taking on UKIP’s dangerous populism. So it’s right that the party seriously re-examines its strategy, how we deliver it, and what we will be offering to the electorate at the General Election in 2015 – and it is right that this debate should include who leads the party. As a democratic party, the membership will hold the key to this re-examination, and we acknowledge that views differ on how to approach these issues within the party – as they do within the SLF.

But resolving this debate and reviving the party matters because the electorate risks losing the only voice capable of representing values of freedom, community and social justice as a national political force. British politics deserves an effective liberal presence, especially in the face of rising populism at home and in Europe. Social liberals cannot stand by and see this voice fade.   So the SLF will lead the discussions that rightly follow, to ensure the Lib Dems present a mix of policies in our manifesto that chime with the values voters expect from a liberal party – and that we have a leadership in place that people listen to.

Social Liberal Forum

Posted in SLF blog
3 comments on “Letter published in The Times, 29/05/2014
  1. Ted Last says:

    It was with great misgivings that I agreed with the Libdem leadership that we should enter a coalition with the Tories. That decision was the right one for the country, but the wrong one for the party as I foresaw the present situation, i.e. we would lose out in the following years at the ballot box.
    Now what I foresaw has come about is a situation that not only must I live with, but must continue to support the leadership of the party as it continues to work towards achieving a fair society that provides for freedom and responsibility of the individual in a caring and just society.

  2. Bill Le Breton says:

    Recently Simon Radford, Provosts Fellow at the University of Southern California and a former Liberal Democrat candidate wrote, “if liberalism really wants to be relevant, it should abandon neutrality (between capital and labour) and join those wrestling with the idea of how to secure individual economic dignity in a globalised, post-industrial country. There are pockets of ambition to be found here, from economic analysis like Picketty’s to American journals like Jacobin and the American Prospect, to potential centres of opposition within the (Liberal Democrats) like the Social Liberal Forum.

    “For liberalism to survive, it’s thinkers and activists will need to wrest control from those so mired in the Westminster bubble that they can’ tree that the sands have already shifted.”

    Well, was Radford right in listing SLF in the vanguard of this cause of Liberty, Equality and Diversity, of campaigning for a fair shot for all and a dignified existence, or is it about to prop up Clegg’s version of Macmillanite Toryism?

    Now is the moment of truth. The fence is no place to lurk.

  3. David S says:

    I did agree initially with the coalition with the tories purely because of the numbers but cannot go along with the draconian austerity agenda and lack of any social reform since the coalition was formed. I also didn’t vote for Nick Clegg in the leadership election, gave him the benefit of the doubt but his bullish behaviour in not stepping down after a series of dire election results and sanctioning orange bookers libertarianism means to me he must go and asap.

    I see Nick Clegg’s departure as a revival of the Party and taking it back to its roots but not enough people are coming forward to challenge his status, they seem to ignore it as if nothing has happened. I am glad to find this site as it is a home for my social liberal views as opposed to Lib Dem Voice and its nepotism and willing to back Clegg at all costs.

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