The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Thursday, September 29, 2005
By George, I think they're getting it!
by Steve Travis

First Andrew Rawnsley, then The Daily Telegraph; now George Trefgarne gets in on the act. And what's that? Why, following the lead that The Apollo Project has set, of course!

Trefgarne's article looks at the pehnomenon of hedge-fund managers, and why, despite what one might think, they aren't all Tories. One prevalent manager, Paul Marshall, is a big supporter of the Lib Dems and, with David Laws, a co-editor of and contributor to the (in)famous Orange Book. Laws and Marshall are well known Lib Dem "modernisers"; but they also have links to prominent Tory modernisers too. As a result, he makes this point:

Now you might ask, why don't the modernisers everywhere just get together with the backing of those hedge fund millionaires and form a new party to save us from the terror of a Labour fourth term? You would not be the first to think that. Francis Maude, the Conservative chairman, has even raised the possibility of a coalition with the Lib Dems.

It's pleasing to note that we made a similar point a few weeks ago, when we said:

[W]e are left in the situation where a broadly Liberal programme potentially has widespread support, but that that support is spread across three parties fighting each other tooth and nail ... Would that we had a political system that was mature enough to allow co-operation across party boundaries in pursuit of common ideals.

Liberals of the world unite! (As Marx might have put it).
posted by Apollo Project @ 12:32 pm  
  • At 29 September, 2005 16:52, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    Couldn't agree with you more. As I've pointed out on this site before, we now have two parties - LibDem and Labour- where a liberal(ish) leadership are hamstrung by socialist contingents in the membership.

    The idea of a new liberal party is well worth a look - Michael Portillo suggested something similar last year.

    I fear though that such a party would founder on different perceptions of what it meant to be liberal.

  • At 29 September, 2005 21:48, Anonymous Steve said…

    Bish - We also have a third party who don't really ahve a leadership at the moment :-) but who in the past had a small Liberal contingent overwhelmed by a socially conservative majority.

  • At 30 September, 2005 12:41, Blogger Bishop Hill said…


    Agreed. I left them out for precisely that reason. The leadership candidates all look reasonably socially liberal but who knows whether the membership is still dominated by dinosaurs or not? Perhaps the conference will give us some clues.

  • At 01 October, 2005 09:39, Blogger Chris Black said…

    I hear what you are saying, but I don't see any Liberalish tendencies in the Labour Party leadership at all these days.

    As a for a new political grouping - it wouldn't come over very well on the doorstep, would it - "Good Evening , I'm canvassing on behalf of the Liberal Hedge Fund Millionaires Party".

  • At 01 October, 2005 10:31, Anonymous Steve said…

    Chris - its a difficult problem. We are hamstrung by the whips and the electoral system. Ideally such a grouping would emerge in a hung parliament.

    I agree with you on the Labour leadership. There was an enlightening article in the Independent last year that showed the far-left origins in one of two groupings of the majority of the Cabinet (with the exception, of course, of Blair). However there are some more thoughtful backbenchers it would seem.

  • At 02 October, 2005 17:38, Blogger Bishop Hill said…


    There is a little economic liberalism around in the Labour leadership - injection of competition into health provision seems more liberal than a state monopoly to me.

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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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