The best pamphlet about liberalism I have read: LDN #142

Liberal Democrat Newswire #142 came out last week, taking a look at a wonderful modern expression of liberalism.

You can now read it in full below, but if you’d like the convenience of getting it direct by email in future just sign up for it here.

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Dr Mark Pack's Liberal Democrat Newswire - email header

Following last time’s focus on Europe, this time the focus is on the role for liberalism in meeting the challenges of the 21st century and the excellent new pamphlet, The Generous Society. Read on to find out more about the best pamphlet I’ve read in a long time.

Happy reading,


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In this edition:

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Books: 101 Ways To Win An ElectionBad News
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A must-read pamphlet on liberalism

If someone else has done something much better than you, there’s no point creating a weak imitation. So rather than return to my theme about the role for liberalism in 21st century Britain with my own words, here instead is the opener from the excellent new pamphlet, The Generous Society by Tom King.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has created the largest public health crisis in living memory. It continues to take the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide. In our own country, the official toll is still rising, and many estimates put the true number far higher. Every death is a tragedy, the loss of a human being with dignity and inherent worth. And alongside that loss comes a wider loss – to families, friends, communities and our entire society.

Beyond the immediate and catastrophic loss of life, however, the pandemic is also one of the greatest social challenges we have ever faced in peacetime. The virus and its impact has shaken and sometimes reduced to rubble the foundations of our beliefs and assumptions about how we structure our lives, workplaces, societies, economies, and governments. The UK state has found itself unable to protect its citizens in good time – for all kinds of reasons. Some of these are forgivable and outside any government’s power. Some are systemic and require long-term action. And some are due to actions governments have taken, some recent, some over decades, that have weakened our society and reduced our resilience, while also impoverishing our lives and the way we treat one another.

For liberals, the crisis has had a particularly sharp edge. We have found ourselves in a position where we are forced to support a drastic and indefinite curtailment of some of our most basic civil liberties. The freedom to move, to assemble, to socialise as we please: all have been temporarily abandoned in the interests of protecting those around us, and in sharing responsibility.

The willingness of people to respond creatively, bravely, stoically, and in many cases heroically to this situation has confirmed all that liberals – who are natural optimists – believe about humanity’s best traits and instincts. This response has not been confined to any nationality, or belief system; it has been a truly global effort. It shows the solidarity we can create together to reduce harm.

These temporary sacrifices have been admirable and necessary. But they have also been salutary. By relinquishing our liberty, we have also seen just how captured our society – and our world – is. Just as with the period of ‘austerity’ that followed the global financial crisis, we have not ‘all been in this together’. The measures to combat covid-19 have disproportionately impoverished the already poor, and our public health system has disproportionately failed people from more vulnerable backgrounds, especially black and brown people, and elderly people in institutional care settings.

There has been talk of ‘going back to normal’ during this crisis. But there can be no going back. We have an historic opportunity to emerge from drastic limitations into a newly liberated society. Increasing freedom and improving lives must be the aim – or we will have missed the opportunity. It is time to rethink what we want from our lives and from our society, and to reform our politics and economics around new purposes.

Find out how to do just that rethinking in the rest of the pamphlet here.

Fighting for the change you need: Lib Dem PPB

Watch the latest Liberal Democrat party political broadcast (PPB), featuring Ed Davey’s listening tour of the country.


Lib Dem Party Political Broadcast

Culture wars, Brexit and electoral reform

What caused Brexit? Was it inevitable? Why do the right love fighting culture wars even though each culture war gets fought on more liberal territory? Those were just some of the questions covered in a wonderfully wide-ranging discussion with Rob Ford when he came on Never Mind The Bar Charts.

Not Rob Ford, the scandal-prone Mayor of Toronto, or Rob Ford, the man who killed Jesse James, or even Rob Ford, the Dundee FC footballer. But Rob Ford, Politics Professor at Manchester University and co-author of the new book, Brexitland: Identity, Diversity and the Reshaping of British Politics.

Take a listen here.

You can buy his new book from Waterstones and Amazon.

Other recent episodes to enjoy include:

🎧 Find all the episodes of Never Mind The Bar Charts here and sign up for an email notification each time a new episode appears here.

📱 Find Never Mind The Bar Charts on Twitter, give feedback and send in questions or ideas for future shows at @barchartpodcast.

Liberal Democrat Newswire is provided for free. Thank you so much to all the kind readers who donate to help cover its costs. It’s quick and easy to sign up for a small regular donation with your debit card using GoCardless:
Thank you! (Other donation options, including by PayPal or cheque, are here.)

Liberal Democrat selection news

Selections are steaming along for next May’s Scottish and Welsh elections, including in the last few weeks for Aberconwy (Rhys Jones), Ceredigion (Cadan ap Tomos) and Shetland (Beatrice Wishart).

Meanwhile in London, Luisa Porritt is the party’s new Mayor candidate and in Essex Callum Robertson has been selected for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

One person, however, who will not be standing for election is Jo Swinson.

Labour sits on fence over civil liberties

In case you missed them the first time around, here are highlights from my websites since last time:

Labour sits on the fence as Liberal Democrats stand up for civil liberties. (Continuing a Labour habit under Jeremy Corbyn too.)

🍾 Liberal Democrat Party Awards, 2020: hear from all the winners.

Liberal Democrats back circuit-breaker lockdown to control Covid-19.

The challenge facing our country has rarely been so great: Ed Davey’s conference speech.

Liberal Democrat conference passes Europe motion, setting out the party’s approach to fighting Brexit.

⭐ Liberal Democrats awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Lib Dem voters prefer a Labour to a Conservative government by 4:1.

Want to raise turnout? Put on a party at the polling station.

What the voters are saying, part 1

Latest general election voting intentions 17 October 2020


To get updates about voting intention opinion polls, sign up for Polling UnPacked or follow @PollingUnPacked on Twitter.

To see all the historical trends for voting intention polls back to 1943 see PollBase.

What the voters are saying, part 2

Council by-elections have started up again in Scotland, with three results in so far:

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have lost a councillor to independents in Arun.

To get the full council by-election results every week when they resume, sign up for my blog posts digest and to be prepared for a council by-election in your patch, see my 7-step guide to getting ready in advance.

ALDC tweet about Kickstart training weekend

New book from Vince Cable

Vince Cable has a new book out, about how countries like ours should engage with China.

MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has written about being on the receiving end of SNP dirty tricks while Ed Davey has been appearing in multiple places talking about the importance of carers, including in the Huffington Post and The i.

Former Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake is the new director of Unlock Democracy, a political reform group, and Cllr Anton Georgiou has been writing for Operation Black Vote and tackling inequality.

Prue Bray is the new chair of ALDC.

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