2018 has been a frantic year for Liberal Reform, the Liberal Democrats, and British politics more generally. The past few months in particular have been so action-packed that it’s become easy to forget events that took place earlier in year. Whether it be the election of a new Liberal Reform board, Vince Cable’s proposed changes to the Party’s constitution, or the seemingly never-ending Brexit drama, memories such as Liberal Reform’s success in removing a commitment to a ‘progressive alliance’ from the party’s strategy now feel distant. Victories such as this should not, however, be forgotten, as they provide a foundation on which a successful year ahead can be built.
2019 will be the year many issues come to their conclusion and it is crucial that those who are committed to personal liberty and competitive markets are ready for whatever lies ahead. On a national level, come March we will know if we are crashing out of the EU in a no-deal scenario, or heading for either a 2nd referendum or general election to break the parliamentary impasse. Even in the event that Theresa May’s Brexit deal does pass without hiccup (which could happen should Jeremy Corbyn continue to lack any real opposition to the issue), it’s possible that either the DUP or Tory backbenchers force the Prime Minister’s hand and an election will take place not long after. As both Labour and the Conservatives lurch towards increasingly statist, authoritarian positions, it’ll be vital that all hands are on deck to make the argument for a more liberal approach.
Within the Liberal Democrats there are also key events likely to occur in 2019. Two that we know for certain are votes on Vince Cable’s proposed constitutional changes, and, later in the year, elections to federal committees. Alongside these, should the Brexit debate come to a head, there is a strong possibility of a party leadership election next summer. These events provide those within the Liberal Democrats who are more market and civil liberties orientated with an opportunity to influence the direction of the party. It will require work and commitment to make this happen, but there is no inherent reason why come this time next year that the Liberal Democrats could not look and sound very different.
In general, politics in the UK could well be radically different come the start of 2020; the one certainty is that Liberal Reform will continue to make the case for all encompassing freedom whatever else is thrown our way.
There’s never been a better, nor more important, time to get involved – you can do so here.
Have a very happy, peaceful and above all successful new year,
Liberal Reform Co-Chair
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