For very dull reasons I stumbled on what I’d written about the mood in the Liberal Democrats after the party’s 2015 autumn Federal Party conference:
Ask a Liberal Democrat if education is important and the odds are they will agree at length, believing it not only reflects the party’s values but also has an important long-term impact on people’s lives. They may also reminisce about the old penny on income tax policy.
But listen to what policy area people mention unprompted – whether it is Tim Farron choosing the topic of a party political broadcast or a new member asking a question at a fringe meeting – and it is housing that comes through again and again. Housing as important in its own right and housing as a large part of the answer to many other policy areas.
While issues such as education certainly remain important to Liberal Democrat members, I think the passion and interest on both sides of the high profile housing debate at our 2023 autumn conference shows that I was on to something in 2015. Perhaps it’s about a slightly different perspective from newer members, or an issue grabbing more attention as the facts have got worse, or a mix of the two. But housing certainly seems to take up much more of the attention of Liberal Democrats now than it used to.
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