Waterloo Lodge in the snow
Michael Meadowcroft & Liz Bee
 

« « back to Liberalism main page ...

A Critique Towards Realignment

Chapter in "Into the 21st Century"
edited by Felix Dodds, Greenprint 1988

by Michael Meadowcroft

Political parties are not cold, static organisations. They are - or should be - movements, whose style and ethos are as influential as their policies. It is therefore crucial to examine the political context for re-alignment. In particular I believe that Liberalism has been so badly served by its leaders in recent years that any consideration of re-alignment must concentrate on the nature and potential of modern Liberalism and its relevance to a new political agenda. The cause of political change is badly served by those who believe that the present can be manipulated without reference to the past. How the different political forces arrived at their current positions must be understood if they are to be successfuly urged to move in different directions. Changing the political agenda from its current Thatcherite domination will not come easily.

The besetting sin of British politics is its superficiality. The public desire for immediate action and its support for simplistic solutions are fed by the media and perpetuated by the political parties. Traumatic events provoke demands for an immediate response which in most cases ignores a score of other factors and could well be counter-productive. Some politicians try valiantly to deal rationally with such issues, with two paragraphs in The Guardian, two lines in The Mirror or two sentences on television, others believe that discretion is the better part of valour, and some cynically support openly the populist cries. Week by week, as the decline in community standards continues, imperceptibly but cumulatively, so the possibility of peaceful change recedes.

The electoral system we labour under is a massive burden. The greatest indictment of the "first past the post" system is not that it is undemocratic in that it distorts the wishes of the electorate but that it is the biggest single obstacle to political debate and thus to evolutionary political change. It enables, even encourages, people to vote negatively against their most disliked candidate and, by discriminating so fiercely against third parties, never mind fourth or fifth parties, it forces parties to be huge coalitions with the pretence of unity. In turn such parties have to exercise discipline to enforce a single party line without the necessity for genuine debate between parties or even within parties. Thus the attachment of the party "ticket" to a candidate is a far more influential electoral token than any personal ability or deeply held views. As I shall argue later the electoral system is also the greatest practical handicap to re-alignment.

Undermining social cohesion
The economic and social changes of the past nine years have been dearly bought. They have been achieved at the price of social cohesion and are perched precariously on top of dangerous divisions in society which could at any time threaten the security and stability of our urban communities. Right at the beginning of the Thatcher years Dr George Tolley, then the Principal of Sheffield Polytechnic, spoke of unemployed men and women as: "Those who bear the burden of change for the benefit of society as a whole" [1]. It is not so noble a sacrifice if it turns out that the burden is being borne for one section only of that society. After the 1981 riots Professor David Donnison wrote about "The Fire Next Time" [2], warning that, although it was the inner cosmopolitan areas that currently appeared so volatile, the greater problems were on the huge council estates and that if they took to the streets it would be far harder to put the lid on the disturbances.

Under the present government there is an underclass perhaps as high as 20% overall, and far higher in a number of urban areas, which with some justification regards itself as having been written off by Thatcherism. High levels of unemployment, declining levels of social security - particularly in relation to help with renewing worn out furniture and essential equipment - and, above all, an increasingly insecure and unstable community, combine to reduce large numbers of decent people to despair. That they have not rioted so far is itself remarkable; the Thatcher "revolution" has been built on the docility of the dispossessed.

That docility is suprising, particularly given the attempts by the left to manipulate it, but it must not be taken for granted. The Conservatives' arrogance of power, displayed vividly by the social engineering of the March 1988 Budget, is dangerously complacent. There is a breaking point with everyone after which it only requires the right demagogue to change a meeting into a mob. That perceptive Quaker Liberal, John Bright, expressed it clearly over a century ago: "If men build their houses on the slopes of a Vesuvius I may tell them of their folly and insecurity, but I am not in any way provoking, or responsible for, the eruption which sweeps them all away" [3]. Above all it is the feeling of hopelessness, a belief that nothing can change one's lot, that is the greatest threat to democracy. What was applied by President John Kennedy to countries with repressive regimes applies equally within countries where the regime behaves repressively towards minorities: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" [4].

It is significant that the Labour leadership also does not understand how unemployed men and women feel. During the 1987 election there were regular references to "the unemployed", as if they were a single, impersonal group, as well as excoriating the Conservative Government for putting three million "on the scrapheap." That single phrase, rightly, grates with most employed people and angers many of them. No-one need be "on the scrapheap" through being unemployed; it is a curiously narrow view of what is meaningful. Of course employment is very often a key to other life enhancements but it demonstrates a shameful lack of vision to infer that those without it thereby lack all opportunity to contribute to their own life chances, let alone their families' or their communities'.

I have never believed that it was legitimate to use men and women as wrestling mats in the interests of electoral success. There is a case to be made out for so doing. It is certainly arguable that allowing conditions to get worse for the poor may incite them to revolution and that, conversely, to resolve an individual's housing problem simply enables a rotten housing system to survive a little longer. However I reject the view that politicians are entitled to manipulate individuals in the interests of some greater purpose.

Mean and ends
To do so requires a complete, and remarkably arrogant, belief that the end result will not only arrive within a reasonable time but also that it will be an improvement rather than simply different. It also requires an acceptance of the repugnant doctrine that the end justifies the means. Such a doctrine leads to increasing repression and manipulation because the failure to embed the new order into the hearts and minds of the people undermines the acceptance and stability of the regime. A fearful society is the opposite of a Liberal society and, because it is inward looking, it denies the free expression and the "forum" upon which such a society relies.

Intellectual rigour
There is no alternative to careful analysis and thorough discussion of policy however much people wrongly feel that they are not capable of such intellectual activity. The failure of all British parties to develop a genuine working class politics is an indictment of our methods and commitment. There is no stable future in a society dominated by middle class males arriving from leafy suburbs to tell the proles how to live. The politics of envy has a strangely attenuated appeal and the future lies with a philosophy based on equal citizenship in which men and women are respected for what they are rather than what they have or can grasp. The alternative to Conservative individualism and to Socialist collectivism is Liberal individuality. Because its prime focus is on the individual and consequently rejects economic determinism, only in Liberalism can the twin aims of individual freedom and social justice both be achieved.

The resilience and adaptability of families under pressure is remarkable. Whilst it continues there remains the possibility of change without trauma. But the social and economic crisis in many neighbourhoods is so deep as to deny the possibility of easy change. The regular cry from constituents over the years has been for "less talk and more action". That appeal is, alas, deeply flawed. The clear effect of political action in our cities over the past forty years is visibly unattractive and socially damaging. More involvement by more people, more debate on the potential hazards of the misplaced faith in planning held by both Labour and Conservative governments, could conceivably have saved us from tower blocks, walk-up maisonettes, deck access flats, obtrusive urban motorways, overlarge district general hospitals, and huge comprehensive schools.

None of these were thrust upon an unsuspecting populace with malice aforethought but each in its way did lasting damage to a social cohesion that requires human sized institutions. They were part of a received consensus, sometimes referred to as "Keynesian social democracy" [5], which had a touching post-war faith in planning. Perhaps this collectivism was a phase that simply had to be endured. Whether it was a result of the consensus or the cause of it is a matter for debate, but significantly it coincided with Liberalism's nadir electorally. With Liberals only fighting one sixth of the parliamentary seats and barely polling 2% those such as Elliott Dodds [6], and Donald Wade [7], who resolutely, and with remarkable confidence, rebuked the spirit of the age could hardly expect to wield sufficient influence.

As doubts began to stir in the 1960s as to the benefits of high rise living and the destruction of urban villages the revival of Liberalism accelerated. Jo Grimond was the ideal leader for the times; his intellectual confidence was combined with a an attractive irreverence, and presented with considerable charisma. Sadly he was also the ideal leader for the 1970s as well, by which time he was understandably weary of the daily round and common task that is particularly the Liberal leader's lot. By the mid-1970s there was an opening for an alternative politics which Liberals could and should have grasped. The oil price crisis in 1973 coincided with Fritz Schumacher's Small is Beautiful [8], and with Ivan Illich's insights into social topics [9].

Liberal renewal
What was required, and was eminently possible, was the third renewing of Liberalism this century [10]. Liberalism, more than other more prescriptive philosophies, is well suited to adaptation to meet the demands of changing times. At its heart, in addition to ascribing primacy to human values and to the enhancement of the individual, Liberalism believes in the "endless journey". There is no static utopia for Liberals; as one horizon is approached a new vista stretches ahead. Consequently, provided that Liberals are well founded in their enduring values, they have much more freedom to explore new challenges and solutions.

Historically it has been Liberal thinkers who have first perceived the need to develop new policies and programmes. The Social Liberals such as Leonard Hobhouse and John Hobson, who followed T. H. Green's pioneering work, set out the possibilities for the enabling state as a means of underpinning physical necessities and freeing men and women from many of the constraints which hampered their liberty [11]. In other words, the state did not have to be a dictator but could become a liberator. The disaster of the First World War and the internal Liberal debacles thereafter contributed to the electoral rejection of Liberalism with catastrophic consequences for Britain. By the mid 1920s a further initiative was required - caustically described by John Campbell as "The Renewal of Liberalism ... without Liberals" [12] - which launched the Liberal Summer School as a vehicle for rigorous radical thought. Ramsey Muir, Ernest Simon, Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge participated in an intellectual powerhouse which, among other reports, produced the famous "Yellow Book" of 1928. Once again it was demonstrated that innovation, on this occasion economic, could be harnessed to Liberal values. Unlike their successors, the Liberals of the inter-war years lacked no confidence in their basic Liberal values and the practicability of applying them to the political agenda.

Liberal opportunity
By the mid 1970s the end of the social democratic consensus was apparent, even if some came to the optimistic belief that it could be relaunched later. The Liberal Party went from 6% in the Gallup Poll in October 1970 to 28% in August 1973. The opportunity was clearly there for the Liberals to grasp. Even if they were unable to hold on to all the latent support at the General Election which followed in February 1974, their poll of almost 20% put them in the driving seat in what was virtually a hung parliament. Sadly, through a combination of a loss of nerve and poor leadership, the Liberals missed the opportunity. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Margaret Thatcher became Conservative leader in February 1975 and sensed that the country was ready to reject consensus. Thus, from Adam Smith, via the Centre for Policy Studies, Britain got Tory individualism rather than Liberal individuality.

The situation today offers a further opportunity. The key political question is "what follows Thatcherism?" The past decade has witnessed a transformation of the political agenda. Capital assets have been sold off for revenue purposes. It is likely that, particularly with the diminishing oil revenues, there will never be the cash available to buy back the major privatised industries into public ownership, even if it were thought philosophically to be beneficial. This fact in itself denies Labour one of its traditional areas of collectivist action. All parties have to recognise new constraints on future governmental action and have to be intellectually innovative if they are to offer a genuine alternative to the divisive and embittering consequences of Thatcherism.

This means that, more than ever, there is no way of achieving any political re-alignment, nor of finding a short cut to defeating the Conservatives, by superficial inter-party arrangements or organisational "fixes". The Liberals and the Social Democrats went down this debilitating road for seven years with diminishing electoral returns and with the dire consequences of inhibiting party policy and of stunted strategic development being seen in steadily increasing frustration and slippage of activity and membership.

Electoral reform
At the heart of the parties' problems of identity is the electoral system. The first past the post method exacts such retribution on those outside the two major parties that the pressure to have mass parties is immense. The parties are therefore by definition too big to have sufficient internal unity and coherence to avoid factionalism. The gap between Sir Ian Gilmour and John Carlisle on the Conservative benches is as wide a chasm as that between Austin Mitchell and Jeremy Corbyn on the Labour side. Each party must pretend to be both uniform and united when, manifestly, they are neither. At any given time one or other "wing" will be dominant and it is incumbent on the rest to maintain the pretence of solidarity until they can once again take over the dominant role. The Conservatives fare better under this pressure because their natural acceptance of discipline keeps more of their squabbles out of the public view.

The public requires three things of its politicians: strong leadership, united parties and representatives who think for themselves. Even a political Paul Daniels could not deliver all three at once. I believe that the debilitating effect of this on all our political development and our political institutions is far greater than we realise. Without electoral reform the possibility in the forseeable future of an enduring progressive government is remote.

Within our present electoral system the inexorable result of an alliance continued beyond its natural life, but terrified of surviving alone, was the merger of its component parts. That was the aim of the party establishment in both Liberal and Social Democratic Parties but it was damaged, perhaps fatally, by the decision of David Owen to continue a SDP with sufficient funding and with enough dedicated support to cast a shadow over the purported unity of the merged party, at least until the next general election. Even without the continuing SDP the merged party in its present form lacks that crucial cohesion and political identity that would enable it to mount a formidable challenge at the next election. To go through three different names in ninety nine days must be indicative of something! There are superficial similarities between the two parties but there are also fundamental differences. It is rather like Rugby League and Rugby Union; both games have their adherents but one can neither play each code well, nor continue any fixture list, if the teams try to play both at once. For the merged party to succeed it will have to become a Liberal Party otherwise another political force will fill the Liberal "space". Like nature, politics abhors a vacuum and the crucial gap is that temporarily vacated by the Liberal Party in its quest for merger with the SDP.

New Labour?
There are those in the upper circles of the Labour Party who are sufficiently aware of the temporary opportunity, and who realise that Labour is unlikely ever to be elected whilst it retains its authoritarian and left wing image, who have been attempting to give the party a Liberal veneer [13]. I have no doubt that the sensible tendency within the Labour Party will continue its internal struggle even though there is little or no chance of success. There are a number of crucial differences between Labourism and Liberalism [14] but the most fundamental is that Labour defines itself by its view of economics; its raison d'etre is its collectivism which governs its place on the traditional political spectrum which defines Left and Right in economic terms [15]. Labourism is the opposite of capitalism whereas Liberalism is the opposite of authoritarianism - of Left and Right.

Liberals reject economic determinism as a basis for a political movement, basing themselves instead on a view of men and women as both individual and communal citizens for whom the test of the economy is whether or not it enhances their "life chances" [16]. Consequently, although in terms of policy there is always a number of similarities, the underlying aims and values are very different. Aspects of the route may correspond but the destinations are distinct.

The other organic reason why Labour can never assume the genuine Liberal mantle is its constitutional link with the trade unions. In common with most Liberals I have whenever possible always been a member of a trade union; Liberals are instinctively supportive of trade unionism - many of the rights recently eroded by Conservative Governments were originally established by Liberal governments - but they reject the myopic binding of unionism with one party as wrong in principle and detrimental both to the party and the union. It is particularly ironic that neither can sever the link even though a minority of trade unionists have voted Labour at recent elections. The financial and organisational domination of the Labour Party by a handful of trade unions effectively shackles it and erects a considerable obstacle to re-alignment [17].

Current attempts to move the Labour Party towards "one member, one vote" are unlikely to succeed if they undermine the union paymasters' influence on the party. In any case, if the constituency party delegates at the Annual Labour Party Conference are anything to go by, such moves will simply put more power into authoritarian hands. As Austin Mitchell MP has written: "More power to party members is not the answer, because the members are the problem" [18].

There is a perhaps an understandable lack of awareness of the real nature of the present Labour Party on the part of those who lack experience of the appalling effects of Labour rule of many of our cities and London boroughs. The extent of political corruption employed in the interest of maintaining political control is both thorough and sophisticated. Nor is it a question of the Labour Left alone; the belief in inculcating a one party state by employment policies, by grant aid strategies and by propaganda on the rates, is widespread. The only apparent difference is that the Left is more open about it [19].

Inter-party relations
Because Liberalism, alone of the political parties, rejects economic determinism, it cannot comfortably encompass in a single organisation those whose primary motivation is a particular economic structure or imperative. That by no means rules out co-operation in and out of government in a multitude of ways but it means that the typical Liberal generosity of spirit is misconceived if it envisages being yoked together in one organisation with those who, quite legitimately, differ on this key point. It follows, therefore, that re-alignment is doomed unless it recognises two distinct strands of progressive opinion: the libertarian left and the collectivist left. Whether or not there can be any public linkage between them prior to an election is extremely dubious; post-election co-operation has to be an open agenda, with electoral reform being the number one item on that agenda and the key to other negotiation.

Historically, Liberal generosity has been unselfish, not to say foolhardy, in its dealings with other parties. In turn Liberals have facilitated the rise of the Labour Party, the birth of the Social Democratic Party, and the need for the Green Party. In 1903 the then Liberal Chief Whip, Herbert Gladstone [20] concluded a pact with Ramsay Macdonald of the Labour Representation Committee under which candidates would be withdrawn in roughly equal numbers of seats. In the short term it helped the Liberal Party to its massive 1906 victory but in the long-term, by enabling a score or so of Labour MPs to be elected, and immediately to form an independent group in Parliament, it unwittingly helped the process under which Labour replaced Liberal as the main progressive, anti-Conservative party.

The obsolescence of social democracy
The lessons of history were, alas, not learned by later Liberals, particularly by their leader, David Steel [21]. Prior to 1981 his speeches are full of derogatory references to social democracy and to its obsolescence, and to the need for all citizens of goodwill to join the Liberal Party. Steel aide and speech-writer Richard Holme described social democracy as "salvation by illusion" in 1979 [22], and, most trenchantly of all, in a book actually edited by David Steel four years after the formation of the Alliance, Ralf Dahrendorf wrote:

Between the new socialists and the new conservatives, there are the social democrats who believe that by tinkering with the system we can make it work for some time to come. In an immediate and short-term sense they may well be right, but they have no answer to the underlying issues... The new pragmatists are merely survival politicians, essentially about the past rather than about the future. [22a]

Dahrendorf was right to point out that any possibility of buying social stability and amelioration was snuffed out by the 1973 oil price hike. All pre-1973 strategies were henceforth obsolete.

It was not as if philosophic and strategic warnings had not been sounded before the formation of the Alliance. Quite apart from internal, Liberal, writers and speakers [23], a commentator as sympathetic and respected as Robert McKenzie drew the parallel with the 1903 pact and the rise of Labour in an interview with David Steel [24]. One is forced to the conclusion that the Liberal Leader had not listened to his own speeches and did not understand the crucial difference between Liberalism and Social Democracy. Not surprisingly he therefore felt no need to protect and promote Liberalism as such.

It is not a question of pride nor of purity but of effectiveness. The problems of the latter stages of the 1987 election campaign, and the debacle of the merger negotiations, were the inevitable consequence of an attempt to oversell the nature of an inherently unstable and flawed relationship. Of course, there were Liberals and Social Democrats who would have been more at home had they swapped parties, particularly in areas where Liberals had previously been ineffective and the SDP had picked up the slack, or in areas where committed Liberals could not face the contradictions of the Alliance and had quietly slipped away, thus weakening the ideological strength of the party. But the roots of the parties were distinct and the generality of their members were very different. The result of the errors of judgement of 1980 and '81 are clear: a continuing SDP under David Owen, a merged party low in the polls and, in its present form, lacking the potential of a sharp cutting edge; and a long haul back for Liberals.

Green politics
The separate existence of the Green Party is also an indictment of the Liberal Party and a result of its lack of confidence in itself. Liberalism has always been based on the quality of life and on the value of the human personality rather than on economic advance. Its great opportunity came in the aftermath of the 1973 oil price crisis when dependence on economic growth for fulfilment of political programmes was finally and fatally undermined. The party soared in the opinion polls, won a series of parliamentary by-elections, and polled sufficiently well in the February 1974 General Election to deny any party a workable majority. Ralf Dahrendorf's 1974 Reith Lectures on "The New Liberty" set out a Liberal critique and vision in the light of the new economic realities [25].

None of this was acted upon by the party leaders and the October 1974 General Election gave Labour a working majority. Soon afterwards the Liberal Party was plunged into the trauma of the Jeremy Thorpe trial, followed, soon after David Steel's accession to the leadership, by the Lib-Lab Pact [26]. The Liberal Party had continued its policy development, particularly on green issues, so much so that the Ecology Party (later renamed the Green Party) which had been formed in 1975 actually debated at its 1979 conference whether or not to disband and join the Liberal Party [27].

From 1981 the Alliance with the much less green SDP caused considerable heartsearching for a number of Liberals for whom the ecological imperative was a crucial test of political soundness. The merger of the two Alliance parties catalysed "Green Voice" conferences in January and March 1988 at which members from the Liberal and Green Parties discussed issues of mutual concern. Some Liberals even hinted at possible electoral co-operation, thus continuing the age old and foolhardy Liberal tradition of generosity to opponents and failing, for the moment at least, to apply similar tests to Green Party politics as they would automatically apply to other parties: is it an economic determinist party and, even more dangerous, is its determinism centred on a single issue?

If the answer to both is "yes" then the party is intrinsically illiberal, even if the aim of that determinism is eminently to be desired. The end can never justify the means, and Liberals are aware that an ecological authoritarianism, with zealots attempting to enforce, say, population control, could be extremely dangerous and would actually undermine the possibility of achieving important aims. If, as the Green Party asserts, the answer to both questions is "no" then it is difficult to see how there can be a space on the political spectrum distinct from a genuine Liberal Party. It is the failure of the Liberal Party to assert its Liberalism and to have confidence in its own relevance and potential that has caused a number of obvious Liberals to put their political energy and skills into green politics and other single issue campaigns. Jo Grimond was accurate when he wrote that "a majority of people want liberalism but so far they have not been offered it" [28].

Liberals' lack of confidence
In the 1940s and 1950s, when Liberal values were at their nadir in post-war Britain, and planning and collectivism was at its zenith, that small dedicated band of Liberal leaders, including Donald Wade, Philip Fothergill, Elliott Dodds, and Frank Byers, wrote and spoke with remarkable confidence that the prevailing political trends were inimical to human values and that Liberalism was the answer. It is perhaps the strangest of paradoxes that, as the public began to realise the accuracy of that analysis and prediction and once again began to vote Liberal, the Liberals began to lose confidence in themselves. One dispassionate observer wrote: "Paradoxically, the Liberal Party's eclipse occurred when Liberal ideas gained general currency" [29]; similarly, writing about our present decade, Simon Hughes and Nick Townsend wrote: "It was as though we vacated the pitch when the terms of debate moved in our favour" [30].

This commentary on recent political history is crucial to the discussion of re-alignment and of what is to follow Thatcherism. The present electoral system actually encourages negative voting and the potential effect of such negative voting on a Liberal Party is disastrous. Any suggestion that it is contemplating any pre- or post-election arrangement with either Labour or Conservative wins no extra votes and immediately sends electors back to Conservative or Labour respectively in droves. Without a proportional electoral system to cushion such swings it is suicidal even to speculate on the topic of arrangements with another party. Unless, miraculously, the Labour Party were to embrace PR - which is unlikely to happen until after its next defeat - one is driven inexorably to conclude that the best hope for the immediate future lies in lifting the character and level of debate across party lines in the hope of changing the agenda by the force of argument.

Eight points for debate
The agenda for such debate and discussion must be open. Liberals can offer the following subjects for starters:

It may be starry eyed idealism to suggest that re-alignment is only likely to be catalysed by rigorous debate with the aim of changing the political agenda, but the paucity of political thinking in Britain affects all our society. To enter into such debate party members need to have a deeper interest in political philosophy than is generally the case. To debate across party lines requires at one and the same time security in one's values and vulnerability about the means of achieving them. For myself I welcome the rare opportunities for such debate. It is high time there was much more of it. But, equally, I am convinced that it is Liberalism which alone has the answers to a crisis which is more social than economic, and which must be at the heart of any future re-alignment. It is not enough simply to assert it; it must be argued forcefully and persuasively, without arrogance or obscurantism. There are sufficient of Acton's "sincere friends of freedom" to be an influential and powerful force for progressive policies if they are challenged directly.

The great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon was once asked to defend the Bible; he refused, saying that all that was needed was to "let it out." In other words its exposition was its defence. I have similar confidence in Liberalism's effect in the political sphere. It is high time Liberals gave Liberalism a chance.

References

1. Quoted at National Council for Voluntary Organisations conference, October 1970.
2. The Observer,14 March 1982.
3. Speech 1867, Vol 2, p 242, G. B. Smith, The Life and Speeches of John Bright, London 1881.
4. Quoted in Charles Clements, Witness to War, London, 1985.
5. David Marquand, The Unprincipled Society, London, 1988.
6. Desmond Banks and Donald Wade, The Political Insight of Elliott Dodds, London 1977.
7. Donald Wade, Liberalism - Its Task in the Twentieth Century, Manchester, 1945.
8. E F Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, London, 1973, but note an earlier work: Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations, London, 1957.
9. Numerous, but particularly Celebration of Awareness, London, 1969, and Tools for Conviviality, London, 1973.
10. Despite Jo Grimond's efforts the Liberal revival of the early 1960s was more a fresh articulation of Liberalism than a fundamental review. The atmosphere of the times did not, as yet, demand a more trenchant analysis.
11. Peter Clarke's, Liberals and Social Democrats, Cambridge, 1978, is an excellent description and analysis of their thought and contains detailed references.
12. in ed. Gillian Peele and Chris Cook, The Politics of Reappraisal 1918-1939, London 1975.
13. Bryan Gould, Socialism and Freedom, London 1985, and Roy Hattersley, Choose Freedom, London 1987.
14. I deliberately avoid using the term "socialism" because, although it has come to mean a narrow collectivist socialism, it originally had a wider connotation; many modern Liberals, as well as John Stuart Mill, would be happy to be known as libertarian socialists but for the pejorative implications in the public mind.
15. Marquand, op cit, particularly Chapter 3.
16. Ralf Dahrendorf, Life Chances, London, 1979.
17. Michael Meadowcroft, Liberalism and the Left, London, 1982.
18. Austin Mitchell, Beyond Socialism, in Political Quarterly, Vol 58, No 4, October-December 1987.
19. Michael Meadowcroft, Turning the Labour Stone Over, in Radical Quarterly, No 2, Winter 1986.
20. Roy Douglas, History of the Liberal Party 1895-1970, London, 1971; Roger Moore, The Emergence of the Labour Party 1880-1924, London, 1978, et al.
21. see Michael Meadowcroft, Steeling the Party, in Radical Quarterly, No 7, Spring 1988.
22. Richard Holme, 1984 - The Real Alternative, London, 1979.
22a Partners in One Nation, ed David Steel, 1985, and Ralf Dahrendorf, After Social Democracy, Unservile State Group, 1980.
23. see, for instance, Michael Meadowcroft, Social Democracy - Barrier or Bridge? London, 1981.
24. "Pursuit of Power", BBC 2, 11 June 1987.
25. Ralf Dahrendorf, The New Liberty, London, 1975.
26. David Steel, A House Divided, London, 1980. and Alastair Michie and Simon Hoggart, The Pact, London, 1978.
27. Sara Parkin, at "Green Voice" Conference, Leeds, 26 March 1988.
28. Sunday Telegraph, 6 September 1987.
29. Robert Eccleshall, Political Ideologies, London, 1984.
30. Simon Hughes and Nick Townsend, The Continuing Case for Liberalism, in Radical Quarterly, No 6, Winter 1987.
31. for an extension of these points see Michael Meadowcroft, The Future of the Left - A Liberal View, in Political Quarterly cit; see also Liberal Movement, Where We Stand, April 1988.

top