Saturday, 20 July 2024

New Horizon – Strategy: Building a Grand Coalition of the Centre

NATIONAL LIBERALISM is neither of the left or the right. Nor is it capitalist or socialist. Whilst we have ‘points of reference’ – people who may have said and/or done something that we find of interest – who’re not National Liberals, we genuinely believe that our ideology goes beyond all of the ‘traditional’ descriptions & ideas.

So what is ideology & why is it so important to National Liberals?

In layman’s terms, ideology is a belief system where core characteristics are shared between various individuals. Some of these individuals may well have their own particular area(s) of intense interest – or ‘tendancies’ – but ideology is the ‘glue’ that binds them together. Ideology is also important because, again in layman’s terms, it sustains those who adhere to it in both good & bad times. In other words it’s a form of ‘nourishment’.

The ideology of National Liberalism – indeed its raison d’étre – can be summed up in the slogan ‘SelfDetermination For All!’ And for National Liberals, self-determination applies to three main areas – National, Political and Economic. In practical terms, we support

• Social and Economic Justice

• Democratic Renewal

• Anti-Globalisation

• Anti-Corruption

• Consensus Politics

With the above in mind, this article (which first appeared in issue 1 of New Horizon – the online ideological magazine of the National Liberal Party) looks at the possibility of building a ‘Centre’ movement of groups & individuals who share these goals.

Strategy: Building a Grand Coalition of the Centre

National Liberals wish to build a movement of the ‘Centre’ in the UK. Based on a sound ideology – the ideal of ‘Self-Determination For All!’ - it should accommodate those who have their own particular areas of intense interest – say, the environment. However, it should exclude those who’re more than happy to remain in the political ghettos of (what many people would regard as) the extreme left & right. Bizarrely the likes of the Socialist Workers Party (above left) and British National Party (above right) both claim to represent elements of the working class. However, they seem at times more interested in attacking each other, thereby falling into the ‘Divide & Conquer’ trap set by the Establishment.

ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, let alone ideologies, believe that they have the answers to their countries problems. Some may consider their role to influence the many, but most believe that only by achieving undiluted ‘power’ and the implementation of their policies can they deliver salvation.

Of course, most never even achieve recognition, let alone exercise any influence or power. There are many reasons for that e.g. a political system that rewards the big, established parties and seeks to deny minor parties representation, a public culture that absorbs its’ ‘political’ knowledge via the mass media (which is inevitably linked to the establishment) and the basic ‘conservative’ nature of the voter.

The National Liberal Party is no more protected from these influences than any other. Yes, we have an ideological basis for existence, we attract a lot of interest, even more so sympathy, and we have some attractive policies. We would be naive however to believe that we will grow at some point exponentially into ‘power’ or that something will propel us there as some form of political ‘sling shot’ e.g. a recession or social meltdown.

Sole power unobtainable

The reason is not down to having/not having the ingredients for a successful political movement, something altogether different (although an important factor – see p17) (1). It is simply that voters/activists in today’s Western society, with its many social attractions, with complicated lives and vulnerable financial structures, are not committed to political struggle. And of those that are, there is no reason to believe that they will embrace only national liberalism, or any other radical idea, but more likely to be split, for many reasons, along multi-ideological or party lines. If then, most radical yet centrist parties (our milieu) are doomed to, at best exist, or at worst wither and die, what should they do?

Unity in Diversity

Some may suggest they should seek unity. There may indeed be some parties that are so close ideologically (or have none at all) that they could merge? However, for various reasons (good and bad), this is unlikely to attract the majority. Ideological nuances, policy focus and ego’s will preclude any ‘unity’ and end in ‘disunity’ if forced. The National Liberals, for example, would not expect to attract all disaffected activists/voters to its banner. Our focus on liberal issues e.g. civil liberties, would not motivate everyone even if in agreement. The same could be said for other parties. However, the issues such centrist parties hold, and it has to be said many Independents, e.g. democratic reform, civil liberties, Euro-realism, (nonracist) patriotism, could form the basis of agreement. Those issues could be promoted by a loose co-operative body. Those issues could even be promoted in turn. If certain parties (or individuals) focus more on promoting their ‘hobby horses’ so be it. By maintaining party identities we allow people to express their ideological differences. By working in a voluntary campaigning body we benefit by sharing resources where appropriate. Thus the phrase ‘Unity in Diversity’ perhaps ideally describes the concept of a working coalition.

A ‘Grand Coalition of the Centre’ would work by bringing together all small centrist parties and Independents working in a loose campaigning body. This body would from time to time mobilise its’ constituent parts to promote an idea through literature distribution or to campaign/protest on the streets if some principle e.g. civil liberties were under threat. The National Liberals have supported an embryonic coalition in recent times known as the People’s Alliance (UK), an all-party campaigning body. It is a template for cooperation. It could also develop into an electoral alliance and even a legislative coalition.

Let us build the centrist, common-sense alternative!

It won’t be easy dropping egos and putting aside policy differences or emphasis but the end result would be worth it. It would benefit from the synergy of its parts working together. If it cannot be brokered, the country will continue with a Lab/Con see-saw with only extreme alternatives realistically on offer. If a member of another party reads this and is inspired, then contact the National Liberals ( for further discussion. From small acorns….

(1)  This is a reference to the next article – What are the ingredients of a successful political party?: An idiots guide – which we hope to feature towards the end of February.

• ALSO Check out:

Build New Horizon!

New Horizon – Head & Heart

New Horizon – National Liberalism In Action – Civil Liberties–-nationalliberalism-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

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

New Horizon – My Concerns For The NHS–-my-concerns-for-the-nhs

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