Friday, 19 April 2024

Liberal Future – A manifesto for our youth

The National Liberal Party can only have a future if we appeal to the younger element of society.

But what if we grew up to see the World a pleasant place, a personal nirvana that we are all striving towards. Is this far-fetched or is this achievable?

Many of my fellow young people are apathetic towards politics; they feel like they are not listened too, find politics boring and uninspiring, and have difficulty understanding politics.

It should not and does not have to be like this – for the sake of this country and our democracy.

There are very few who disagree that we desperately need a period of national renewal akin to the one after the Second World War. Young people need to be involved in the debate, decisions and destiny of this; we are the ones who will have to live with the decisions being taken now. Currently, not enough of us young people are politically active.’’ (Laurence Scott,, Aug 2012).


Member of the National Council Dean Williamson discusses the prospects of attracting youth to the party.

The National Liberal Party can only have a future if we appeal to the younger element of society.

Does anyone purposely set out in life to be left or right wing? I didn’t. When we are children we are carefree; we don’t have responsibilities and we don’t have a care in the World. This innocence seems to disappear as we get older as the realisation of society becomes apparent and we form our World view. Our life philosophy is inherently shaped by those around us. Some choose to align ourselves to a political party some a religion but there are very few choices on offer.

As we mature we see the problems in the World and we can become angry and distorted in our view, and we see the World in a certain way and we see others not carrying out our own personal World view so become politically active to strive for change and development of society. However, it is inevitably frustrating if the political parties on offer do not seem able or want to follow you down your path of ‘righteousness’.

Realistically, who can say they truly looked up to the Conservative or Labour party as children and thought ‘‘I want to be part of that set when I grow up’’? If we are to believe the establishment, then not voting for, or becoming part of either major party, is our only option because otherwise it’s a wasted vote. You have to question why this is so and is there an alternative to what is essentially the American two-party model.


When we talk about the party establishment we are talking about a generation of people who grew up when political activism was at its most popular. We are talking about the miners’ strike; we are talking about the poll tax riots. All causes that moved thousands of people. These people will not be our future since they have already chosen sides and we need not convince them than the National Liberal Party is the antithesis to society’s problems. We do, however, need to open the door and be the party that engages young adults. We must take the lead and show how they can effect society. It is about empowering people to make changes themselves; we are just the facilitators.

Can we explain how to implement and develop the changes one can make in actuality rather than grander notional changes? A recent example is the Conservative Party who preached about ‘living within our means’ but did not go into detail how this would be achieved, causing panic and confusion amongst people. There wasn’t any detail in this grander notional vision (it degenerated into austerity measures which is hardly inspirational). How can we motivate people to become active in politics if we hide behind smoke and mirrors (i.e. visionary statements with no practical explanation of implementation).

The National Liberal Party talks about the continual threat of a ‘Big Brother society’. When we discuss this are we giving our members tangible ways and means of how we can combat this. Where is the detail above and beyond philosophical notions of liberty?


We must prove to young adults that their involvement in the party can help shape society in the long term. We need to empower young people; even letting them choose the direction our manifesto takes. Be led by and not dictate to.

As a party we must soul search and develop a strategy that will energise young people and give them a cause to become actively involved with us. We need to keep current and have a focus on the issues we see publicised by the media. This has to be our first hook for young adults and will gain us more exposure on social media platforms. A letters page in the local newspaper will rarely be read by anyone not of a pensionable age.


One challenge is how to attract youth to the party’s core issues such as self-determination (both national and democratic) and liberty. We must develop our policies to inspire and present positive ideals, we are here to make society a better place to live not to become reactionary to old problems. Give young people the opportunity to develop our policies and shape them to a mutually agreeable world view.

A starting point would be the creation of a youth wing, initially based on social media on both Facebook and Twitter. We should look to pose political questions and generate debate on matters that concern young people, and furthermore, debate existing and future National Liberal policies and ideas.

A Liberal Future

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‘’The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but, on building the new’’ (Socrates)

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