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Liberalism & Sustainability


I was listening to the old wireless on Wednesday last week at a moment when Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, was addressing her party conference.

Having not heard much from Ms Swinson previously, I was keen to listen in and in particular hear more about the Lib Dem position on Brexit which has been much publicised.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t this aspect of her speech that sucked me in, more the position being taken around sustainability. 

A shift towards a ‘wellbeing’ budget; a reference to the trailblazing position taken by the New Zealand government.  A commitment to place the environment at the centre of all policy considerations. A distain for the lack of action subsequent to the climate emergency proclamation.  A commitment to more clean energy.  Inter-generational equity and acting now for the benefit of future generations was front and centre. Great stuff.

Subsequently, I went away to look at the Lib Dem website to try and get some substance behind these positions. https://www.libdems.org.uk/environment  

I left feeling a little disappointed. 

Theres an opportunity to back up the passionate position conveyed by Ms Swinson into an empowering promotional vision for the future. What it does, like most positions around sustainability, is dwell on everything that is wrong and the negative and take swipes at the current government policies. Look guys, we know the conservatives are bad at this stuff. We know you will always strive to negate each others policies.  How about you rise above all that and just tell us what you will do.  Proactively support and collaborate with each other cross party on issues of this significance rather than just disagreeing because you feel you have to.

If you are serious about sustainability Lib Dems - be truly different and take a position for improvement.  Under your government you are going to improve the environment & wellbeing of our people.   With Ms Swinson as your leader and prime minister, sustainability will be at the heart of all your policies.

You have an opportunity to win the next general election Liberal Democrats, but don’t let that be because of your Brexit position, which is risky and potentially undemocratic if you think it through.

Make sustainability your differentiator.  I bet you will get the support of millions of millennials and ethical consumers if you do, as well as anyone that has children who want them to grow up in a cleaner, fairer more prosperous global community.