A Short History of the “L” Word

The American poet Robert Frost was only partly joking when he said a Liberal was definable as ‘a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.’ Liberals of both (or more) genders have of course historically taken a side: their own. Now that a new decade has begun, and another important anniversary is being marked today, and there are question marks over how much longer liberalism is likely to last, now seems as good a time as …

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The ‘darkest day’ school controversy. Is there a tension between those who stayed in NI and those who left?

The latest headline in the culture war this week was the ‘darkest day’ school controversy. Dalriada Grammar School had hit the headlines because a teacher had reportedly pinned a ‘darkest day’ poster onto a notice board. This then became a ‘tug-of-rip down’ match between liberal pupils and a conservative scripture union teacher – so the simple narrative goes. On Nolan the inevitable debate began; one side was the liberal commentator (not arguing for censorship apparently) who argued that a school …

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The polite rebel: Sheelagh Murnaghan

The polite rebel: Sheelagh Murnaghan by Allan LEONARD 3 October 2019 Sheelagh Murnaghan was the only Liberal Party MP (1961-69) in the Northern Ireland Parliament, representing the constituency of Queen’s University Belfast, which was the venue for a launch event of a new biography about her remarkable life. There were many Murnaghan family members in the audience of a few dozen attending. The book, Sheelagh Murnaghan, was commissioned by the Albert McElroy Memorial Fund, which was established to commemorate the …

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“Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness…”

At the Guardian, Thomas Frank offers some home truths to a self-styled liberal media [including bloggers! – Ed] in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.  From the Guardian Comment is Free article How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such …

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Tim Farron’s religious belief and two distinct strains of secular liberalism…

First, Nick Cohen… The media complain about ‘career politicians’. Yet when politicians come along who aren’t Oxford PPEists, who have progressed via think tanks and spadships to safe seats without their feet touching the ground, journalists are shocked by their failure to conform to contemporary mores. Then, “His Grace”… …when Jeremy Vine asked questions of Tim Farron’s Christianity and voting record on his Radio 2 show, he allowed him to answer and then quickly moved the conversation on. The difference …

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The Strange Afterlife of Liberal England

What does he know that we don’t? Throughout this election campaign, even in both the bruising television events that he shared with other party leaders, Lib Dem chief and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has seemed as buoyant and lively as he was during the “Cleggmania” of five years ago. If, as the polls suggest, his political career is doomed (and the only thing on which the pundits are agreed in this election is that the Lib Dems will be …

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On neoliberal Scandinavia

Tim Worstall They are classically liberal economies with lots of redistribution on top. So, if we want to be more like them we’ve got to be a classically liberal economy with lots of redistribution on top. We need the classically liberal economy in order to generate the moolah to be redistributed. Scott Summers The neoliberal revolution combines the free markets of classical liberalism with the income transfers of modern liberalism. Although this somewhat oversimplifies a complex reality, it broadly describes …

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The Road To Sweden?

Does the Scandinavian economic model disprove Hayek‘s assertion that planned economies lead to totalitarianism? Don Boudreax argues that far from being centrally planned the Swedish system is compatible with Hayek’s vision for a liberal economy and society. Hayek said that “the planning against which all our criticism is directed is solely the planning against competition – the planning which is to be substituted for competition.” So because Scandinavian countries emphatically do not plan in this way, Samuelson was mistaken to …

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