by Stephen Tall on January 10, 2014
The idea for a weekly series of Liberal Heroes sprang from a conversation I had in 2012 with Paul Marshall, Chair of CentreForum’s Management Board. And like most ideas, it was stolen.
For some time, The Sun had been publishing a weekly series of Heroes and Villains, usually politicians who’d taken up a cause
Rupert Murdoch agreed with dear to the newspaper’s readers. I wanted to offer a counterbalance, recognising those who stood up for liberal values – regardless of the political party they represent, if any.
Those values are unashamedly those offered up within David Laws’ introduction to The Orange Book: economic, personal, political and social liberalism. To date, I’ve selected 56 Liberal Heroes, drawn from all parties and none. I’ve also thrown the occasional Liberal Villain into the mix – though, to be honest, I find these harder: I prefer carrot to stick, praise to admonition.
I don’t hide that I’m a Lib Dem. However, when writing for CentreForum I try and set those loyalties to one side and celebrate liberalism wherever it’s found. Naturally, readers don’t always agree with my choices (I doubt all my CentreForum colleagues do either).
What follows is also a personal selection, but one chosen to try and be in some way representative of the entire series. I hope you enjoy dipping into it…
CentreForum’s Liberal Heroes and occasional Villains: a personal selection (as chosen by Stephen Tall), January 2014