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ENGAGE - The Lib Dem Policy Network

ENGAGE aims to open up the policy process – by facilitating two-way exchanges between the wider membership and those involved in formal policy-making. We'd love to hear from you about how you'd like us to do this.

Members: 229
Latest Activity: Mar 3

Start debating - and be heard!

Engage has everything you need to organise policy discussions in your area:

* Briefings on key policy issues like Coalition Politics and the Banking System

* Lists of speakers willing to come and debate with you

* Forms for you to tell us your conclusions.

Just go to

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Discussion Forum

Lib Dems: The Way Forward 12 Replies

The way forward for the LibDems is to focus on the "middle ground" that most people identify with, by appealing to policies that are innately realistic, sensible, rational, and inclusive. The…Continue

Started by Lee Daniel Hughes. Last reply by I.D.Dolan-Betney Apr 4, 2013.

Planning for the Future 14 Replies

Where do we go from here as a party?, not on policy, but as an entity. In my view the current Lib Dem party as we know is toast, at the next General Election. The Old & Sad by-election hid the…Continue

Started by Glyn. Last reply by Philip Carr Jan 23, 2013.

Restoring confidence in Parliament 2 Replies

Why should MPs & Lords be held to different standards of conduct to the rest of us?One Laws for them..?- A standard contract of employment.- Expenses reimbursed via the system HMRC use for their…Continue

Started by Richard Tebboth. Last reply by Richard Tebboth May 17, 2011.

Liberalism: An Obituary? 19 Replies

The events of the past six months have been eventful, exciting and turbulent for LibDems. Right now, it is difficult to see where things for the party go from here. Let´s remind ourselves that back…Continue

Started by Lee Daniel Hughes. Last reply by Philip Carr Dec 8, 2010.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Lee Daniel Hughes on December 2, 2010 at 21:43

Yes, it is disappointing that some of the exchanges have become bogged down.
To misquote Donald Rusmfeld slightly: "Democracy is messy".

It's also true around the world that people get the politics and government they deserve.
Thank god for open debate and discussion; otherwise we'd never have a progression of ideas.
Comment by Paul Catherall on December 2, 2010 at 21:26;

Summary is:

it commits Government to cutting away unnecessary duties, processes, guidance and requirements.

The White Paper also sets out:

* powers for teachers to improve discipline, and trialling a new approach to exclusions
* a vision for a transformed school curriculum supported by rigorous assessment and qualifications
* more academies and free schools and a strong strategic role for local authorities
* changes to school performance tables, Ofsted inspections and governance
* a fairer funding system including a pupil premium to channel more money to the most deprived children
* school-led school improvement replacing top-down initiatives.

The deregulation of the school system is outlined in this document, as you can see this is actual policy running through the coalition now.
Comment by Simon Oliver on December 2, 2010 at 21:12

This entire discussion arose from me challenging your statement "these are the basic, primary areas the party should be focusing on, instead of supporting the drive to de-regulate and sell it al off"

This clearly implies that you think the party is supporting the drive to de-regulate. I think this statement is false, and I have been trying to get you to support it by providing evidence that the coalition government has a drive to de-regulate.

Give me evidence of this de-regulation (without attempting to re-define it as anything other than the abolition of regulations), and I'll concede the point.
Comment by Paul Catherall on December 2, 2010 at 20:58
As I said your debate is coloured by deeper ideological strands, not sure you can have a debate pounding on like this, you also keep stressing things I never said, as if I am accusing the LibDems of things, if you look at the posts you'll see I'm talking about longer term trends in politics since the last government and continued by this one.
The tone of the debate has been set by Simon, who pedantically insists on citations for everything.
I've provided plenty of links below.
Also I find the tone of the debate persistently provocative and offensive now resorting to a suggestion I'm a child who needs to be taught logic.
Why bother setting up these forums if they are are going to be filled with edicts like this, also, I think the forums need a more responsible moderation, because several groups have sprung up with far right views such as "I'm Nick Clegg" and "Defend Nick Clegg", one with images of skin heads with guns.
I'm disappointed at some of the views here to be honest, and more-so at the negative tone of the debate.
Comment by Simon Oliver on December 2, 2010 at 20:48
I have argued elsewhere that logic needs to be taught in schools as a discipline, alongside the skills necessary to evaluate sources of evidence and track assertions back to their origins.

I'm rather amused that he thinks my arguments are convoluted :)
Comment by Sandra Taylor on December 2, 2010 at 20:38
Is this the best level of public debate we can expect here? Disappointed...
Comment by Paul Catherall on December 2, 2010 at 20:32
de regulation is just a fancy term for Tory cuts, period.

this LibDem party has showed its hand as a force of regressive politics by supporting the Tories to this ideological end, destroying the state under the premise of choice, market competition and efficiency.

The LibDem voters who want sensible policies won't be convinced by either these convoluted arguments or the practical results they will effect over the next 5 years, luckily they won't have that long to destroy 50 years of social progress because the voters will leave this party in droves anyway.
Comment by Lee Daniel Hughes on December 2, 2010 at 20:16
Regarding Liberalism and deregulation, we have to remember that there is also a difference between social and economic liberalism.
Economic liberalism is in favour of dereguation and sees government as the source of people problems: this is Monetarism and the Chicago School. In this view, personal freedom is seen through the lens of owning property.
Social liberalism is seeing government through the lens of private, individual behaviour

The Liberal governments of the past were usually in favour of providing equality of opportunity (through regulation and workers' rights) in the economic sphere, and providing increasing individual social rights (by extending suffrage) in the social sphere.

Ayn Rand, the inspiration for Objectivism, a philosophical strand of Monetarism, I understand believed in BOTH deregulation (to reduce the government's influence to a minimum) and social liberalism (to allow any behaviour that didn't impinge on others).

Conservatives tend to be economically liberal but socially conservative. Socialists tend to be the opposite. Liberal Democrats have the rare honour to tend to believe in the best of both worlds: allowing individual social rights, but providing government to allow careful regulation over wider, economic issues.

Why the regulation? Because economics is a far more complex issue than individual choices of behavior. Consequently, Monetarists tend to be good at microeconomics but awful at seeing the bigger picture.
Comment by Simon Oliver on December 2, 2010 at 20:04
So shifting authority away from the centre to the local community is now 'an aspect of deregulation'?

No, it isn't. De-regulation is getting rid of regulations. I'm asking you to provide examples of de-regulation implemented by THIS government. You have implied that in the 7 months since the coalition was formed there has been a widespread policy of de-regulation supported by the Libdems. As evidence you are bringing up policies that are about the decentralisation of power and giving communities the rights to manage the enforcement of existing regulations. You have provided not one single example of a regulation that has been abolished, with the exception of a claim that the admissions code is going to be abolished (for which I would like some sort of citation, preferably from Hansard).

I'm not saying that there are no examples. I'm saying that they are thin on the ground, and where one has been abolished, a better one has replaced it, on the one in one out rule. I would also suggest that while this rule exists no government minister is going to abolish a regulation when he or she will need to keep it handy for when a new one needs to be introduced.

On the issue of hyperbole, I'll offer some examples:
> obsessed with economic Laissez Fair
> "bonfire" of the quangoes
> selling primary schools to evangelical US groups who expell kids for not carrying a bible
> bitter penury
> sell it al off

These are not statements of fact - they are exaggerations for effect - hyperbole.

On the issue of minors working in factories, you seem to be reading some other thread, because no-one has denied it happened, nor that regulations put a stop to it. You suggested that someone (presumably me) was arguing against this kind of social improvement on the grounds of liberalism. My comment should have made it clear to you that I consider that this suggestion is false. No-one has made that argument, and by setting up the straw man you are creating yet another logical fallacy.
Comment by Paul Catherall on December 2, 2010 at 17:11
Er have you ben living under a rock, the free schools proposals, the academies which have largely taken over state comprehensives, the creation of independent NHS trusts and proposals for GP led clinics in England, the green paper to transfer the role of quangos like FPA to local authorities, the loss of LEA control over local education provision, indeed, the withholding of RAE and other research funding this year and consultation on creation of a free market in universities, these are all aspects of de-regulation. The role of the national curriculum in schools is challenged by the government's own plans to allow free schools and academies to opt out and write their own, this is government stuff, you can go look at the web sites and read the speeches.

The use of minors was a common feature before the Factory Act, this is basic GCSE history, are we saying this didn't happen because I haven't provided documentary evidence? I'm simply saying that certain regiulatory bodies have evolved over time to improve and manage society and modern industrial and social processes.

I'm not using hyperbole I'm using facts, see the URLs I provided below, then take a look at the equivolent policy in England, hospital parking for example is phased out in Wales by Welsh government law, but has not been in England.

I agree these are separeate juristictions, but my point is that these offer a contrast between a social progressive and enterpreneurial model and an increasingly regressive alternative in England, this also is not hyperbole it is anecdotal only in that this is becoming the prevalent view on the street, as more people realise the depth of how much they are being conned in England.

Let's not get into some kind of revisionist debate or question the ethos of the LiBDems on issues of personal freedom, let's remmeber the LibDems combined both refrom effecting equalities and freedom from opression and personal freedoms such as the right to vote, the two cannot cooexit without the other, and this shoud not be forgotten by those obsessed with economic Laissez Fair.

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