That was the question House Magazine asked me for its Lib Dem Conference Special Edition, and here’s what I told them:
Only rarely does it make sense for a political party to concentrate on something other than what the public says is the most important issue facing them and their families. Now it not one of those exceptions, so it is the economy that should top the list for Liberal Democrats over the next year.
It is not only the importance of the economy it its own right; it is also that without greater economic success there is very little scope for getting public interest in the other areas where the Liberal Democrats are achieving results in government.
Frustrating though it is to environmental campaigners, for example, at times of economic adversity public interest in the issue wanes – and so further economic recovery is necessary to have a chance of winning public support for the environmental policies pioneered by Chris Huhne and continued by Ed Davey.
The Liberal Democrat contribution to that greater economic success needs in particular to see the increasing rhetorical importance giving to housing this year by Nick Clegg and others turned into practical action, whilst at the same time continuing to make the tax system fairer, with wealth taxed more fairly and at a level closer to that at which income is taxed.
In other words, a stronger economy – and one with a distinctive Liberal Democrat edge.
That’s the sort of approach which would build on what the party has already been doing: