The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman previews ‘Coalition and Beyond’

by Stephen Tall on September 16, 2013

On Monday night, I helped launch Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Next Decade, a collection of 20 essays published by Liberal Reform which I edited.

 

The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman was there, primarily to interview Mike Thornton, but previews the publication today:

Last night I attended a fringe held by Liberal Reform, a group in the party that campaigns for a market-based approach to policy-making. It’s reasonably young, and was set up as a reaction to the dominance of the left-leaning Social Liberal Forum, as economic liberal activists felt their voice wasn’t being adequately represented. LR have published a book of essays called ‘The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead’, which seems to be pushing not just for the party to embrace the market more wholeheartedly, but also for a more hard-headed approach to policymaking in general. This group is, if you like, the ‘Britannia Unchained’ faction of the Lib Dems. They represent the David Laws strand of thinking, not the Sarah Teather position.

*Splutters* Orange Booker, I’m fine with. But ‘Britannia Unchained’? Hmm. As I said in my introduction:

I’m going to begin by saying what this pamphlet is not. It is not a right-wing / neoliberal / Tory / free market / Thatcherite* manifesto (*delete according to taste). Nor, for those who study Lib Dem ‘Kremlinology’, is it a power-grab by an internal faction designed to subvert the party’s democratic policy-making. Sorry to disappoint those who are looking either to praise or to bury it on those grounds (though I’m glad if such false premises enticed you to start reading).

That’s what it’s not – so here’s what it is. This pamphlet is, quite simply, a collection of essays bringing together a diverse group of individuals – all of whom are, with one exception, Lib Dem members – with fresh ideas about how to create a more liberal society.