We are an organisation founded and run by members and activists, to both propose policy in keeping with the party’s liberal heritage, and to continue arguments for free people and free trade in the future political direction of the Liberal Democrats.
Now I must at this point make clear that I am involved with the group, and am currently on the committee that’s helping to run it until elections can be held.
My hope for the group is that it helps to keep the Liberal Democrats at the radical edge of British politics, primarily by ensuring that a wide range of ideas and policy positions are properly debated. If we want to be a radical liberal party – which I believe we should – we shouldn’t be held back by policies akin to sacred cows, which party members don’t even talk about for fear of being branded some sort of heretical or revolutionary.
Liberal Reform is broadly what one would call “economically liberal” (though I personally find the phrase rather unhelpful, particularly when set as a contrast with “socially liberal” – on the proper definitions of those things I’d class myself as both). However, the group is not only interested in “economic” issues. In fact, as our website states, we are interested in “four-cornered” liberalism: personal, political, economic and social.
What we are interested in is making the Liberal Democrats as distinctive as possible through our liberalism. To do that, though, we have to be the enemies of dogma: challenging the status quo, ignoring the pleading of special interest groups and looking at issues through the prism of our liberal heritage.
There’s been talk recently of the Liberal Democrats factionalising, which I think has been overstated. I, and my fellow members of Liberal Reform, don’t want a break up of the Liberal Democrats along tired, arbitrary lines. Our aims are simply to suggest ideas, to promote debate and in doing so ensure that the Liberal Democrats remain the distinctive force in British politics, against the staid familiarity of the two main parties.