Last year I published an infographic on what the Liberal Democrats are achieving in government, which proved a big hit.
Now I’m publishing a companion piece to go with it, on what the Liberal Democrats believe and the roots of those beliefs.
I’ve long felt there is a big gap in what is available on this front. There are handy one sentence slogans and short extracts from the party’s preamble at one extreme. At the other there are some comprehensive books such as Conrad Russell’s superb An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalism and there’s also lots people can learn about the party’s philosophy and long-term beliefs from its history, thanks to books such as the one I contributed to, Peace, Reform and Liberation. You can also sign up to my free 14-part weekly email series on Lib Dem philosophy.
However, much of the time one end of the spectrum is far too brief and the other end far too long. For example, if a would-be member wants to know more about what the party stands for then one sentence is too little, yet asking them to read a book is for most too much. What’s more, without materials in between these two extremes, there’s a danger that collectively as a party we never do that much to help explain our beliefs to new members and supporters, especially those who are initially attracted to the party due to a piece of impressive local activism which is not distinctively liberal.
That’s why I’ve been a great fan of the slightly-longer-than-one-sentence summaries of what the Liberal Democrats believe that Alex Wilcock has both written himself and encouraged from others.
It is also why the idea of this new infographic took root in my mind, and many thanks are due to Alex for his help, encouragement and wise advice during its creation. Thanks too to many other people, especially Richard Flowers, Duncan Brack and Mary Reid. David Howarth and Gordon Lishman were also particularly helpful in my attempts to summarise the similarities and differences between social and economic liberals. Others too numerous to mention kindly commented on earlier drafts I circulated. Even the simple ‘nice idea’ responses were all very helpful – and reassuring! Thank you one and all.
Once again, Kath Harding has done brilliant work on the design, putting up with my regular tweaks and frequently turning a request of mine into something better.
Needless to say, what has ended up being produced is my view and not necessarily anyone else’s. If you like it, remember to give them a share of the credit. If you don’t, remember to point your blame at me.
Learning from my previous infographic, this one is designed from scratch to work well offline, and thus is A3 sized with a high res version you can download and are most welcome to print off, stick up on a wall or use in other publications such as local party newsletters.
The work tries to give new or interested people an accurate and also welcoming view of the party, explaining therefore some of the debates they may well encounter yet not taking sides in them. There’s more that enough other opportunities for that, and I hope that trying for a balanced approach means the infographic will be more widely used and useful.
The original infographic on what the Liberal Democrats are achieving in government will be getting an update shortly by the way, and will also then become an A3 sized graphic.
UPDATE: In 2017, Your Liberal Britain also published a great vision statement for the Liberal Democrats.