Economic liberalism is, and has been for some time, a marmite issue within the Liberal Democrats. As someone very much in the ‘love it’ camp (economic liberalism, not marmite, can’t stand the stuff), last week I wrote a paper containing just a few ideas as to how economic liberals within the party can work to see more economically liberal positions taken by the Liberal Democrats in its policy. You can now see this paper by clicking the link below.
Over the past few days I’ve felt a bit disallusioned by politics and politicians, here’s the reasons why:
1) Labour MPs and supporters, previously hostile to Jeremy Corbyn, are all of a sudden falling in behind him simply because he managed to avoid defeat on quite the scale that was expected. In my book the whole point of politics is to stand up for what you believe in; if you didn’t believe in a vision of mass state intervention coupled up with grand scale middle class subsidy a few months ago, why do so now? If you’re in politics for votes first and values second then you’re not for me, particularly when Corbyn failed to prove he’s any more electable than Ed Miliband or Gordon Brown.
2) The government’s refusal to acknowledge that the result of the election means that business as usual simply isn’t going to cut it, particularly concerning Brexit. The line “over 80% of people voted for a hard Brexit” whilst technically accurate simply shows a government with its head in the sand. They asked for a mandate for their Brexit vision and they failed to get it, go back to the drawing board and think again.
3) The Tory/DUP deal, or more to the point, the lack of a Tory/Lib Dem deal. I supported the call to reject any coalitions or deals during the campaign chiefly because I thought it’d end up being irrelevant, as I believed like so many others that the Tories would win by a landslide. However, now we are where we are, I can’t help but feel the party would be doing the country a better service by holding the Conservative’s feet to the fire over such issues as single market membership by using it as a bargaining chip in coalition negotiations, rather than by introducing amendments to the Queen’s speech that’ll in all likelihood be defeated.
4) Sticking with the Lib Dems, there seems to be very little debate within the party as to its future direction. I hoped the leadership election would bring this about, but so far the only candidate we’ve got seems to be standing on a platform of “fingers-in-ears, everything’s just fine”, which is hardly inspiring. The only alternative vision for the party has been presented by Norman Lamb, who felt that his entirely reasonable approach was so out of touch with party members that it was best not to stand, which was extremely disappointing. Every day I pray that Ed Davey not only stands but offers something different, I cannot even begin to tell you how depressing I’d find a Vince Cable coronation.