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Liberalism and Left Liberalism

First published as the leading article in
Labour and Trade Union Review
(now Labour Affairs), August-September 2000

[Until recently British politics has been a confrontation between two liberal parties calling themselves the Conservative Party and Labour Party, with occasional interventions from the party that actually calls itself the Liberal Party. Liberalism has been the only functional political idea both in its more attractive, idealistic guise, emphasising personal liberty, and in the support for the traditional liberal idea of minimum government intervention in economic life. This article appeared in 2000 at a time when the liberal character of New Labour was clear for all to see, but it argues that in this respect New Labour was continuous with the Labour Party's origin as an offshoot of the Liberal Party and also of the Liberal Imperialist tradition responsible for the First World War and all the evils that flowed from it. The arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party holds the promise of a real change in the configuration of British politics but there is a huge dead weight of British political culture to be shifted if that promise is to be fulfilled.]

Avoiding real difference in politics
The liberal idea
Joseph Chamberlain - a missed opportunity
Liberalism and the First World War
How the Labour Party replaced the Liberal Party

The full text can be downloaded as a Word document here