Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Social Liberal Forum Conference

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 14th July, 2012

The Social Liberal Forum obviously fulfils a need within the Liberal Democrats, as the healthy turnout for its conference at King’s College Waterloo campus in London today testified. Since the party went into government it has been important to have a social liberal network thinking about what the Party’s distinctive narrative should be. Nick Clegg, who gave the opening address, took us back to William Beveridge’s Five Giant Evils (want, idleness, disease, ignorance and squalor), while adding a sixth: pollution and other environmental problems. That is fair enough; indeed, I have often used exactly that formula in some of my lectures at SOAS. However, it was clear that there were divisions between some in the audience and the Deputy Prime Minister when it came to how to address those evils in the current economic and financial context. Ed Davey followed next, focussing particularly on climate cange, and I was pleased that he highlighted the EU’s positive role in green matters. So I asked him in the Q&A if he could try to ensure that the Liberal Democrats take ownership of the combatting climate change agenda, and urged that we make it our flagship policy in a pro-European campaign for the 2014 Euro-elections. I was a little surprised when he said he thought that actually Law and Order ought to be the flagship issue (Europol, European Arrest Warrant, etc), as that would play more to Tory voters. I don’t think that is a particularly easy message to sell, but I wish him well on developing it with others. The important thing is that the Party must fight the European elections (which are less than 2 years away now) strongly and positively. And that we champion the real, relevant LibDem “wins” in government, including some of the things ushered in by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who was one of the speakers at a break-out session I attended, looking at body confidence and related issues.


2 Responses to “Social Liberal Forum Conference”

  1. […] Jonathan Fryer’s blog: Social Liberal Forum conference […]

  2. […] Davey recently suggested that the Liberal Democrats should press for greater cooperation with the EU on tackling climate […]

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