Nick Boles MP
The recent call by the Planning Minister Nick Boles for some Conservative candidates to stand at the next election as “National Liberals” to help win three-way marginals or Liberal Democrat seats, has focused attention on the Tories growing toxic brand and the withering of the Liberal Democratic brand.
According to Boles the moniker could recruit new supporters to the Tories without the embarrassment of the Conservative label.
Boles said: “I thought our willingness to compromise with the Liberal Democrats in the national interest would help persuade the public that we moderated our ideological fixations, would show we had really changed. I did not realise that our coalition partners would do everything in their power to paint us as heartless extremists.
“And I underestimated the readiness of some in the Conservative party, and the press, to play up to the caricature and thereby fall squarely into their trap.”
Boles saw a new National Liberal party affiliated to the Conservatives much in the same the way in as Co-op party is linked to Labour.
He clearly has in mind the experience of the Liberal National party of 1931-68 who were in a coalition with the Conservatives and some Labour MPs. After 1948 they changed their name to National Liberal Party but became absorbed by the Tories. The name largely lingered on because Conservatives could use it to show a liberal link and thus gain a proportion of liberal voters.
We were formed, if inactive for a period, only in 2006, but have something in common with the 31-47 manifestation of the Liberal Nationals rather than the post ‘48 version, and generally more with the social liberal wing under the Liberal National minister, Earnest Brown. The latter could not be regarded as conservative at all.
That apart, Boles also criticised the LD’s as really being Social Democrats (being statist) saying “Having been pushed out of its ancestral halls, liberalism is now wandering the streets of British politics looking for a new home”.
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Well we would agree with that final statement. When Nick Clegg sold the party’s soul for the Ministerial coin and reneged on his opposition to Student fees, something died within the Liberal Democrats i.e. a large part of their liberalism.
We to believe those lost souls are looking for a home but instead of it being a ‘re-branded’ Conservatism, it must represent those tenets of political liberalism i.e. protection of individual rights and the general preservation of civil liberties, combined and balanced with a ‘social’ liberalism that concerns itself with the collective needs of the people, be it family, community or nation. Our National Liberalism represents these values. Join us now and help build a better future http://nationalliberal.org/join-nlp.