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A liberal approach to public services

By Alex Chatham
June 27th, 2017 at 9:42 am | Comments Off on A liberal approach to public services | Posted in education, health, Uncategorized

Perhaps the one thing that politicians of all ideological persuasions can agree on is that running, and funding, public services is a challenge. They tend to disagree about how much funding should be given and how our schools and hospitals should be managed. This argument has been going on for decades. The post-Thatcher consensus appeared to be that British public services should receive a high level of funding while reforms took place to organisational structures and the way the services were delivered.

Reforming public services isn’t easy. People don’t like change and worry that the services will worsen. So what we get is tinkering and slowly declining services. Part of the problem is that hospitals and to some extent schools are run on a ‘command and control’ basis. Liberal reform would see far greater autonomy for both organisations and funding in the hands of parents and patients. This doesn’t mean ‘privatisation’ although privately run and public funded institutations could work.  The key though is autonomy for the organisation and individuals deciding where to spend the money. After that the Government should step back and let things evolve. The temptation to tamper would be great but far better, and liberal, to let people find ways to respond to the needs of the patients/parents. Trust people and we will end up with a far better system.

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Good luck to Liberal Reform at conference

By Angela Harbutt
March 8th, 2012 at 5:50 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Liberal Democrats

Well congrats to Liberal Reform for a pretty awesome start in life – over 100 party members signing up, and lots of buzz and noise about the blogosphere.  Still a way to go to prove their spurs – but very nice start.

For those of you planning to attend this week’s conference in Gateshead it might be worth your while going and meeting these guys and gals.

DRINKS RECEPTION : They have a drinks reception that everyone is welcome to attend on Saturday evening in Room MEC 2, The Sage between 6.15-7.30 – drinks provided – how can you refuse ?

FRINGE EVENT: No sooner started than rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous!  Liberal Reform’s co-chair Mike Bird will be taking part in a fringe event on the much-discussed topic of youth unemployment, alongside the not-so-youthful Vince Cable (and others obviously) –  Room MEC 7 in The Sage at 1pm in Saturday.

MOTIONS AND AMENDMENTS: Liberal Reform are apparently proposing and supporting a number of amendments to the motions being voted on over the weekend. Here is one you should definitely support (there may well be others – just not had chance to look)..

F21 Civil Liberties, Sunday, 10.45am: an amendment expressing regret at the slow movement and apparent watering down of the Freedom Bill and concern about other infringements on liberty happening under the government’s watch.

Good luck.

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The right sort of Lib Dem group announces launch

By Angela Harbutt
February 13th, 2012 at 12:11 am | 10 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats

We are delighted over here at Liberal Vision to welcome a new group to the Lib Dem family (drum roll please…) LIBERAL REFORM.

A while ago we wrote about a new group that was considering forming a grass roots organisation aiming to bring together (and facilitate discussion and policy development) amongst those in the Liberal Democrats who are sympathetic to economic liberalism. At the time Mike Bird (one of the founders of Liberal Reform) said:

“The aim of this organisation is provisionally to promote economic liberalism within the Liberal Democrats. We hope to be a ‘big tent’ of opinion, and will welcome anyone who feels that there are areas in which the party could be more open to promoting a free market. We seek to co-operate with other groups within the party, and would like to integrate ourselves as part of the liberal mainstream in this country.

Our outlook is not solely economic: we wish to see our party advocating four-cornered liberalism – liberal economics, in a framework of personal, political and social liberalism”.

There has surely been a need for a grassroots membership group that speaks to the mainstream of the party embracing the free market, for quite sometime.  According to a Lib Dem Voice survey from April last year, 35% of Lib Dem members and activists describe themselves as ‘economic liberals’, now a bigger presence in the party than those who would describe themselves as  ‘Social Democrat’  (noting that less than half describe themselves as “centre left”). So the time is right for a group such as Liberal Reform.

It is very telling that Liberal Reform is taking one of Nick Clegg’s best ever quotes as their lead statement. Mike Bird (co-founder of Liberal Reform) is quoted today as saying

We agree with Nick Clegg’s statement at our Autumn Conference in 2011 that “we are not on the left, and we are not on the right. We have our own label: Liberal”.”

So go check our their brand-spanking new website, sign up on their supporters page and join us in wishing them all the very best.

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