Back in September I co-authored an article in the Guardian with Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass, about the need for a "coalition of progressive ideas
" between Liberal Democat and Labour members. In truth, Neal did most of the heavy lifting on this, but I had no trouble signing up to it. In particular, I was keen on how we defined this so-called coalition:
Progressives in all these parties ar
On Friday 7 May, without pausing for sleep, the Social Liberal Forum started lobbying for a Progressive Alliance - or, failing that, for a Grand Alliance of all parties. It was soon clear that that was what the vast majority of Liberal Democrat members and supporters would have liked. And what the majority of Lib Dem MPs would have preferred.
So, naturally, many of us were disconcerted and disappointed by the outcome. How could we end up sleeping with the enemy? Should we blame Nick Clegg
James Graham moved Amendment 3 at the Liberal Democrat Special Conference which reads:
Insert after line 23:
"Conference calls for Liberal Democrats to work constructively in government to ensure that the the net income and wealth inequality gap is reduced significantly over the course of this parliament."
There is no question at all that Nick Clegg and his negotiating team wrung a string of key concessions out of the Conservatives in this agreeme
The Social Liberal Forum made clear earlier this week that we favoured a progressive alliance between the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties as the basis for a government. We very much regret that due to the intransigence of some individuals within the Labour Party that opportunity was not taken.
The alternative deal that our MPs had placed in front of them contained a series of important progressive policy commitments secured in the negotiations with the Tories. It was a hard-won deal for t
Events are moving quickly. Gordon Brown's resignation and the opening of formal talks with the Labour Party have reignited the possibility of a progressive alliance.
The fact that talks with the Conservatives have failed to come up with agreement at this stage suggests that this possibility has run its course. The Social Liberal Forum Executive respect Nick Clegg's commitment to talk to the party with the greatest mandate first and have suspended our judgement on what such negotiations might re
Statement from the Social Liberal Forum Executive:
These are exceptional times. The nation faces two great crises: a financial crisis and a political crisis. The next government needs to be strong enough and honest enough to deal with the economic mess and our discredited democratic system.
The most credible way to tackle this would be the formation of a Government of National Unity
The cornerstones of such a Government must be as follows
David Hall-Matthews’ speech on Motion “Growth that lasts: A fair, green and sustainable economy.”
Conference, I am speaking in favour of lines 22-23: “a fair and sustainable economy means delivering growth that lasts, through... honesty about the tough choices needed to cut the deficit and put the public finances back in order without damaging vital public services.”
I couldn’t agree more. This is at the heart of how will distinguish ourselves from Labour and the Cons
The Social Liberal Forum had another successful conference, with two fringe meetings that were standing room only. This was perhaps not surprising for our joint fringe with the One Society campaign
on equality, but our evening session was an ostensibly much drier affair, to adopt a constitution so that the SLF can become a membership organisation. It was surprising - and very encouraging - that so many people turned up to give us such a flying start.
Not having decent internet access over the weekend at Lib Dem conference, I've been itching to get my paws on the latest Left Foot Forward report
on the Lib Dem proposal to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. "Think Again, Nick!" (pdf
) purports to show that, far from being the most redistributive policy on