Tuesday, 22 February 2011
The liberal agenda at the heart of government
I thoroughly enjoyed Radio 4's Analysis programme about The Orange Book, a 2004 book of essays by some leading Liberal Democrats. The programme contends that the Orange Book's ideas are now at the heart of the Coalition Government's agenda and will define centre-ground politics for many years to come. When did the BBC last have cause to report that any strand of Lib Dem thinking was at the heart of government thinking? Hooray! Had this course of events been revealed to the audience at one of the fringe meetings to launch the Orange Book at the 2004 Liberal Democrat Conference, many of us would have been both pleased and excited - and I say that as someone who was in the audience at one such meeting. The programme also gives a fair crack of the whip to those Liberal Democrats who are less enthusiastic about the Orange Book than others are, and also features some very interesting thoughts from the perhaps unlikely figure of David Davis. This is a timely, penetrating analysis by the ever-thoughtful Edward Stourton.