Richard Grayson on the Liberal Democrat Journey

Former Chair of the Social Liberal Forum Richard Grayson writes:

Check out an e-pamphlet I have written called The Liberal Democrat Journey to a Lib-Con Coalition – and Where Next? which is published today by Compass. A shorter version of it is published in the New Statesman available from newstands in London today and everywhere else in the UK from tomorrow.

The full pamphlet can be found on the Compass website.

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2 comments on “Richard Grayson on the Liberal Democrat Journey
  1. Terry Gilbert says:

    I’ve posted this comment on the Compass site:
    A very useful summary of the history – especially the recent history – of the Liberal Democrat party, focusing on the ease with which ideological ‘small-staters’ overcame a complacent and disorganised social liberal majority, after the 2004 Orange Book. Richard Grayson goes on to document the efforts to re-invigorate the ‘left’ of the party since 2007, pointing to the publication of ‘Reinventing the State’, the formation of the Social Liberal Forum, and the success in internal party elections in 2008, without which the manifesto would have been even further to the (centre) right, small-state philosophy of Clegg et al. He concludes with a few tentative pointers to areas where social liberals can hope to influence the future agenda of the party, provided they continue to remain active members of the party. Thank you Richard, for giving me some hope, and making my £10 (minimum) renewal feel worthwhile!

  2. Mark Yeates says:

    The Liberal Democrat Journey to a Lib-Con Coalition – and Where Next?; Is a very informative and interesting pamphlet by RICHARD GRAYSON. I am left wondering though Where Next? Since Nick Clegg became leader, and I am as guilty as other Lib Dems here, we have collectively stayed loyal, as you correctly point out, for fear of yet another leadership crisis. But we have had to swallow some bitter pills, especially in the small state/ public services run on market based policies espoused by Clegg and the ‘Orange’ brigade. There was always however our distinct economic policy through the current recession, our stance on civil liberties and electoral reform.

    We have been suckered into this ‘no alternative’, Shock Doctrine of Osbourne and King and the resulting slash and burn policies that is damaging and severe to our public services that even the IMF are concerned about it. I still have the punched in the guts feeling that we are nothing but a fig leaf and taking all the hits for all the nasty policies the coalition dish out.

    Grayson, points out several ways for the social liberal to move forward from the unpalatable (my view) coalition.
    • Confront free market orthodoxy which led to the current crisis
    • Confront the acceptance of social class that is still as prevalent in this country as it was in the 20th Century
    • Developing policies on the new economy and more radical policies on climate change.

    Some of this gives a sense of hope. As does recent civil liberty issues that have been discussed or passed within the past 10 weeks. A list compiled by Henry Porter for The Observer on the 11th July 2010.

    • Ending the child data base
    • Withdrawal from Sangin and determining a date for complete withdrawal from Afghanistan
    • Ending the detention of children of asylum seekers
    • Examining the necessity of taking and storing photographs of protesters
    • Number Plate recognition to be regulated and put under scrutiny
    • CCTV camera of Muslims in Birmingham now disabled
    • IPA (Investigatory Powers Act); so often used by councils to spy on its residents to only be used for its prime purpose in counter terrorism
    • Section 44 (Stop and Search) to be suspended
    • A judicial inquiry into allegations of torture against terrorism suspects

    All this and the fact ID cards have been scrapped; Ken Clarke is rethinking prison and sentencing policy and Nick Clegg has a Freedom Bill in the autumn. These are positives…..something to cling onto hope for.

    I still believe we will be hammered in the forthcoming local elections, which makes me sorry for the hard working diligent councillor being affected not by local issues but by a simmering hatred the press and Labour have been keenly espousing since the coalition deal, and a hatred for the Lib Dems for being the face of the cuts. As for the general election (whenever that may be), well, I think we’ll be down to 20 or fewer members in parliament as it currently stands maybe a few more with AV if it passes a referendum.

    We need to work on distinct policies away from the coalition, rethink some of our pro market – less state stance, return to Keynes, Beveridge and Hobhouse. Try to find a way to gain media space for Liberal Democrat Policies as opposed to Coalition ones. Many backbench Tories are allowed on screen to show their disregard for the new order, why should we play the nice guys?

    So, whilst the article is good and summarises our situation and future dilemmas, I think it raises more questions than any specific answer. Many in the party will stick their heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, or carry on shouting ‘there was no alternative’, or ‘at least we’re getting some of our policies on the table’. Others I suspect are seriously worried about the shift in policies to the right and the consequences this has on our local councillors and our national standing.

    also posted on my blog ‘and one more thing’

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