Whilst the Liberal Democrat Brexit Policy is a good short-term policy, it is one that will have to adapt as the fast moving situation changes. The Liberal Democrats are in danger of becoming a single-issue party with Tim becoming a Brexit bore.
The electorate is now prepared to trust the Liberal Democrats at local level, but its position at national level remains dire. The electorate need to know where the party is coming from and going to before they will trust it at national level. The party cannot produce reams of policy papers at the drop of a hat, if it did nobody would read them, but it can and must indicate its direction of travel. This needs to be radical, and needs to be proposing big ideas to improve society.
The direction of travel starts with a road map, we need it now, ideally at this Spring Conference. Only the SLF are likely to deliver. The road map can then be sent to branches and local members, including the new members, so they can contribute with input at branch level.
I have produced below a possible road map. Others may have different ideas but the objective is to demonstrate to the electorate the areas the Liberal Democrats are working on.
These are the areas I feel we should be exploring at the SLF:
- All NHS funding options including an increase in Income Tax/National Insurance.
- Bringing the NHS and Social Care under a single control.
- Allowing councils to borrow to build houses.
- Encouraging the construction of modular homes.
- Revision of planning law to ensure uplift in land values goes to infrastructure.
- Immediate increase in Council Tax Bands followed by Land Value Taxation.
- Wealth Taxation.
- Reform of company law to encourage long term planning, employee input and reform executive pay.
- Reform of employment law particularly covering zero hours contracts and creating a level playing field for UK citizens and immigrants.
- Review benefits/basic income to ensure fairness and affordability.
- (8/9/10 to tackle inequality).
- Review defence needs in light of current world situation.
- Encouraging investment in green technology.
- Ways of tackling Climate Change.
- Encourage investment in public transport.
- Discourage expensive vanity projects, (Hinkley Point, HS2, Garden Bridge).
- Ensuring education is funded and free from political interference.
- Review Higher Education funding.
- Welcoming those who come to work or study.
- Electoral reform and replace House of Lords with second elected chamber.
- Further devolution, possibly an English Parliament.
- Review mistakes made when tied to the Tories in government.
Alderman David Becket is a former Liberal Democrat Berkshire County Councillor, West Berkshire Unitary Councillor and Newcastle under Lyme Borough Councillor and Cabinet member.