• The Liberal Democrats Need to Step Up

    December 19, 2023 8:53 PM

    Recently 30 prominent Liberal Democrats signed a letter to the Guardian about the failure of the Liberal Democrats to make an impression on voters. SLF chair Gordon Lishman was one of the signatories and explains the problems the party is currently facing as we approach the 2024 election year;

    The Guardian Letter

    A few weeks ago, 30 members of the Liberal Democrats wrote to the Guardian.  The group included 9 members of the Federal Policy Committee.  The message was concern about the blandness of the Party’s public offering and the failure to project a strong, clear Liberal identity as the foundation for radical policies which capture people’s attention and then their hearts and minds.

    The criticism wasn’t new.  It was what many people in the Party have been saying for a few years.  That includes the FPC members and the SLF.

    Some of us who signed the letter expected a serious response from the Leader, President and others.  Experience of other leaders suggested that there might be some dialogue and engagement to talk about the issues.  In fact, it appears that the reactions were angry, defensive and weak on the substance of the issues.  That explained why the original drafters had decided eventually to choose the Guardian letter as their way to raise their concerns.

    The SLF agrees with the approach of the letter’s authors and their call for a distinctive and Liberal vision.  We agree on the importance of a strong message on the Single Market and the threats to Liberal democracy in the UK and worldwide.  We want to see a much stronger emphasis on poverty, the failure of many public services to reach even a minimum acceptable standard, and the need for a shared public commitment to paying what’s necessary for a stronger society.  Underpinning these principles, it’s time to challenge the confines of the conventional wisdom of economic orthodoxy.

    We agree with the Party’s concentration on the issues that matter to most people, including the cost-of-living crisis, the failing health service, and the failure of care services.  These issues need radical policy answers and not just negative whinges and unconvincing slogans.

    Even in the run-up to the next General Election, there’s still time to bring out our strong and distinctive Liberal messages.  There’s still time to project the Liberal Democrats as a national Party with something to say to people throughout Britain.  We want to see that change of emphasis and we shall be asking SLF members and others to agree with us in making that case.

    After the General Election, there will be a more thorough debate about Liberal identity and national strategy.  The SLF will be contributing strongly to the case for greater clarity of purpose and ambition in strategy.


    Gordon Lishman

    SLF Chair

  • Book Review: The Future of Social Democracy is… a little uncertain

    February 22, 2021 1:43 PM

    Jon Alexander reviews The Future of Social Democracy for the Social Liberal Forum.

    Read more

  • Citizens’ Britain: A Big Radical Idea for British Politics

    February 18, 2021 12:00 PM

    Jon Alexander from the Social Liberal Forum and David Boyle from Radix discuss the SLF's report on Citizens' Britain published at the end of last year and its radical implications for British politics.

    Read more

  • If you think Brexit is settled, think again

    February 10, 2021 11:00 AM

    Labour's former Leader in the European Parliament, Richard Corbett, makes a powerful case that the issue of Brexit is far from settled in British politics.

    Read more

  • How to do Patriotism for Liberals

    February 01, 2021 3:01 PM

    Stephen Richmond writes for the Social Liberal Forum about a liberal approach to patriotism.

    Read more

  • Brexit: Where Next for Northern Ireland?

    January 28, 2021 5:00 PM

    The Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party and MP for North Down, Stephen Farry, writes for the Social Liberal Forum on the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

    Read more

  • Equality of What?

    January 26, 2021 10:00 AM

    Simon Banks argues that the Liberal Democrats need to focus more on equality, especially equality of outcome.

    Read more

  • A Citizens’ Convention is the way to renew UK democracy

    January 05, 2021 4:01 PM

    Graham Allen argues that the UK's democracy would benefit from adopting a deliberative democratic approach with the use of Citizens' Conventions.

    The article is introduced by SLF Council member, Jon Alexander.


    Read more

  • All Progressives Must Up The Digital Game

    December 09, 2020 1:22 PM

    Author: Amil Khan


    In the immediate aftermath of the 2019 General Election, Labour Together approached Valent to undertake a review of the Conservative Party’s digital strategy as part of their review of the Labour Party’s election strategy. What we found at the time looked interesting - there were clear signs that the Conservatives had seriously upped their game since 2017 - but the deadline was tight, and the information we could get hold of was limited. We knew at some point we would need to dig deeper.


    Read more