The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Friday, August 12, 2005
Food for Thought - Advice from an Unexpected Quarter
by Steve Travis

Discussion today over on Mike Smithson's incomparable Political Betting has turned to the implications of a Brown vs Davis contest in 2009. In particular, there has been much talk of the "English Question", or the impact of a Scots PM presiding over a Westminster parliament in which Labour does not have a majority of English MPs.

Conservative contributor Blue 2 Win highlights that this potential democratic deficit could be one of the sleeper issues that ignites widespread concern about the role of the state:

Europe as such, is yesterday’s issue and has, in any case, been a misstatement of the root cause of the issue: who runs our country, our health service, our police and so on. And that concern is not just with the Napoleonic jungle in Bruxelles but in terms of our own over-centralisation and the submergence of the individual in the monopolistic state, in terms of people’s control of their lives and communities.

We know where Gordon Brown sits on this carousel: good old socialist high spending low efficiency centralised nanny state dressed up as modernity. Where do David Davis, David Cameron, Ken Clarke et al stand? All the old timers are statists from centralising governments of the past. David Cameron may not be?

There is certainly a chance for the Liberals in all this, if they are reborn as real liberals: but not with CK as leader and not while they have policies decided by a process that leaves them with a cocktail of the unachievable thrust on the party by the unelectable.

Despite Blue 2 Win's jibes about our leadership and policy-making, the kernel of his argument chimes with essays on the apropriate level and scope of government powers in the Orange Book, particularly those by Nick Clegg and Ed Davey.

Further evidence of the opportunity to advance the cause of Liberalism if we can repair the Liberal Schism.
posted by Apollo Project @ 1:08 pm  
  • At 12 August, 2005 13:37, Anonymous Phil Grant said…

    Gordon Brown is Mr Centralism, and the kind of agenda he pursues as PM will make it very clear that Centralism Isn't Working.

  • At 16 August, 2005 00:52, Anonymous Danton said…

    From 1789 to 1914 Liberalism was a centralising force. Rational Liberals used to dismiss local customs, traditions and prejudice for what they were.

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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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