Thursday, 20 June 2024

New Horizon – ECONOMICS Part 1 – The Economic Roots and influences of National Liberalism

EVERYONE KNOWS that the economy is a vital – almost central – element to life. Indeed, for some people, the need to make ‘money’ represents the very core of their outlook on life. Everyone talks about the economy and economics, but we’d hazard a guess that not many people really know much about economics – or indeed, how the economy works. Even less will know what economic system National Liberals favour.

To provide answers to a very complex subject matter, issue 1 of New Horizon – the online ideological magazine of the National Liberal Party – decided to produce a series of ‘short and sweet’ articles. The first of these articles, which describes the varied ideological influences, is reproduced below.

ECONOMICS Part 1 – The Economic Roots and influences of National Liberalism

William Morris (left) was an English architect, furniture & textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and Guild Socialist. Lord Rosebery (right) called for Britain to become (and Britons to be part of) a ‘great property-owning democracy’. Both men have influenced the economic ideas of National Liberalism.

SOME PEOPLE reading this issue of
New Horizon will have already heard of the National Liberal Party. Those that have may have a fair idea from our name what our (political) ideological roots are. Indeed, some folks may even know about a few of our policies. However, it’s probably a safe bet that not many would be aware of what economic ideas influence and guide the NLP!

Most people instinctively know that there is something drastically wrong with our economy. After all, why do we always seem to have endless cycles of boom and bust? However, trying to explain how the entire economic system works in plain and simple terms is another matter!

Therefore, we’ve deliberately kept this article short and sweet. Our intention is to produce a series of articles on the economy that will eventually form a ‘blueprint’ on how to get Britain back to work. Firstly, however, we need to trace the economic roots of National Liberalism.


THE National Liberal Party is rightly proud if its ideological roots. As many readers may know, they largely stem from the ideas of those who formed the Liberal Nationals (LN) headed by Sir John Simon in the early 1930s.

According to David Dutton’s book Liberals in schism – A history of the National Liberal Party, an early form of economic nationalism was the driving force behind the formation of the Liberal Nationals. He noted:

‘In 1930s Britain the Parliamentary Liberal Party was divided over the measures they believed were required to govern a Britain rocked by a world depression. A minority (ultimately coalescing under the LN banner – Ed) had come to believe that protectionist measures, contrary to Liberal dogma in favour of Free Trade, were now necessary to save British workers jobs.’

The NLP’s political roots are also unique in that they represent a combination of two classical ideological trends: Nationalism and Liberalism. This fusion of nationalism and liberalism means that we give gave equal weight to ‘national questions’ (concerning all of the nations and peoples of the British Isles and in principal, beyond) as we do to ‘liberal questions’ concerning the individual.


This fusion of nationalism and liberalism provides us with a general position that can be best summed up as being ‘Neither Left nor Right – Neither Capitalist nor Communist.’

It’s probably easy to envisage how one can take a political position that’s ‘Neither Left nor Right.’ For instance, some subjects – like Britain’s membership of the EU and our involvement in foreign military adventures – clearly transcend the traditional ‘left/right’ political divide.

It is not so easy to see how one can advocate an economic idea that’s ‘Neither Capitalist nor Communist’? Many readers might assume that capitalism and communism are the only two economic options that have ever been advocated? Surely they’re the only two systems that have ever been tried? Indeed, can there be some sort of ‘Third (or any) Way’ that goes beyond capitalism and communism?

To answer these questions it may be best to look first at the economic ideas that influence and guide those involved with the NLP.


Some of these influences – and the people who have promoted them – include, the liberal national interpretation of classical liberal free trade, the progressive yet pragmatic Liberal National party approach to labour relations and economic affairs e.g. Earnest Brown’s tenure as Minister for Labour or even earlier, Lord Rosebery’s call for Britain to become (and Britons to be part of) a ‘great property-owning democracy’. Then there are ‘visionary’ ideas such as the Distributism of GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, monetary reform ideas (including elements of Social Credit), even some early socialists such as Kier Hardie and Bob Blatchford and Guild Socialism (as advocated by the likes of William Morris, GDH Cole and Arthur Penty). The ideas of the Co-operative movement, the Chartists and Levellers and support for small businesses and shopkeepers, and some libertarian economists, are also of interest.

Therefore, it could be said that our economic ideological roots represent a synthesis of various radical, free-thinking ideas that seek to offer a genuine alternative to orthodox capitalist and socialist (or communist) solutions.

In future issues of New Horizon we’ll take an-depth look at all of these ideas – and the people associated with them. More importantly, we’ll also look at how they relate to modern day conditions, look at some of our distinctive economic policies, how we can get the economy back on the straight and narrow including how we can get Britons, especially our young, back to work via apprenticeships and limited forms of protectionism.

• ALSO Check out:

Build New Horizon!

New Horizon – Head & Heart

New Horizon – National Liberalism In Action – Civil Liberties–-national-liberalism-in-action-–-civil-liberties

New Horizon – National Liberalism In Action – The Nature of Democracy–-national-liberalism-in-action-the-nature-of-democracy

New Horizon – Ecology: The Silent Fourth Pillar of National Liberalism

  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • blogmarks
  • Blogosphere
  • Google Buzz
  • PDF
  • email
  • Live
  • MSN Reporter
  • MyShare
  • MySpace
  • Technorati

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.