The Principles of Liberal Democracy

Never has a Lib Dem lead been needed in Liverpool more than now. Whether in Liverpool or wherever you are reading this come and join us and help the fight for a better, kinder, City and a better, kinder Country

This was part of a paper which would have been discussed at the Liberal Democrat Conference which we had to cancel because of the death of the Queen.

It’s a great outline to the thought and principles which motivate our policies and go on to guide our actions.

If you agree with the things here, you are a Liberal Democrat. Other Parties share parts of our approach, but the package as a whole is unique to the Liberal Democrats. Help us turn our principles and beliefs into practical actions and policies for Liverpool or wherever you happen to be when you read this blog.

You can join us at www.libdems.org.uk.

1.           The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

2.           We have always championed the rights and freedoms of the individual and the community against the powerful and well established, giving power to those who need it most. We believe the party’s core values can be described as liberty, equality, democracy, community, human rights, internationalism and environmentalism. These were most recently set out in policy paper 142 What Liberal Democrats Believe (2021).

3.           One of the most enduring liberal beliefs is that of liberty. This means the right of individuals to make their own decisions about how they live their lives, as long as they do not cause harm to others; our aim is to support individuals to pursue their dreams, to make the most of their talents and to live their lives as they wish.

 4.          Liberty goes hand in hand with equality, since people’s ability to realise their own goals is critically affected by their circumstances. True equality requires an active state to: ensure that no one is held back by poverty, poor health, or discrimination, provide access to education or training, and other public services, including a welfare safety net; and guarantee that everyone enjoys equality before the law.

5.           Democracy is a core value of Liberal Democrats; it provides the means through which individuals exercise control over the institutions that Pre-manifesto Policy Paper 149 7 shape their lives. But democracy in Britain is under threat. The first-pastthe-post electoral system leads to gross distortions in representation and means that large numbers of voters feel unrepresented. We believe that every citizen must be empowered to make their voice heard, without being dominated by entrenched interests or the power of money. That means supporting real democracy, with checks and balances, so that those in power cannot abuse their positions; and a plurality of views, where no individual or organisation is deterred from speaking truth to power.

6.           Individuals do not exist in isolation; we are all members of an incredibly rich weave of different communities, whether defined geographically or through work, tradition, culture, interests or family. We will always strive to empower diverse communities and individuals’ rights to join or to leave them. This means that we support a diverse range of organisations that enable individuals to join together in the pursuit of common goals; and the decentralisation of political and economic power to local government and the nations and regions of the UK.

7.           Human rights are sacrosanct to Liberal Democrats. They are what safeguards our freedom against the tyranny of the powerful, in government, in society, in business and internationally. Liberal Democrats will always defend and promote equal legal rights for everyone to pursue their lives according to their abilities, wishes and means, free from discrimination and oppression. Whenever the powerful would seek to strip us of our fundamental rights, we would defend them.

8.           Liberal Democrats are internationalists from principle, because we believe in the worth of every individual. We are also internationalists for good pragmatic reasons, because some goals are too big for nation-states to achieve on their own. Our commitment to internationalism means Pre-manifesto 8 Autumn Conference 2022 striving for a fairer and more equal, tolerant and connected world and collaboration with other countries – including, especially, our European neighbours – in guaranteeing peace and security, tackling the climate and nature emergencies, standing up to corporate power and spreading prosperity around the world.

9.           Liberal Democrats support not just the rights and opportunities of people living today, but also those of generations to come. That’s why environmentalism is at the heart of what we believe and is reflected in everything we do. This means acting at home and internationally to promote environmentally sustainable means of production and consumption and living in harmony with nature, so that future generations can enjoy the planet in a way many take for granted today

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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