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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Re-claiming the l-word

Apropos nothing in particular, I've been thinking a lot about definitions of liberalism of late - English liberalism in particular. A near universal-sloppiness has become the practice of using the word "liberalism" to mean any approach to life that is at least vaguely progressive. Ed Miliband's Labour Party likes to use the l-word because they don't want to call themselves socialists or even social-democrats. In political terms, a liberal is someone who believes in individual freedom. That can obviously mean different things in different contexts, but it certainly doesn't mean Labour. Edward Skidelsky has addressed this problem interestingly in Prospect. What we do about it, I don't know.

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