Carmichael joins launch of new Citizens’ Britain report

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home Affairs, Alistair Carmichael, is today joining the launch of a collection of new liberal ideas backed by the Social Liberal Forum, inspired by Paddy Ashdown’s influential book “Citizens’ Britain”, credited with fuelling the revival of the Liberal Democrats in the 1990s. Mr Carmichael contributed the foreword to the report, and joins the editors at a launch event at the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference, which starts today.

The report includes calls for radical policy interventions including a Universal Basic Income, widespread use of Citizens’ Assemblies and other participatory democracy approaches, and a Community Power Act to push power out of the hands of government institutions and directly into communities.

Commenting on the publication, Mr Carmichael said:

“In 1989 Paddy Ashdown published “Citizens’ Britain – A Radical Agenda for the 1990s”, a manifesto for liberalism based on our core values, and started the long march back to relevance for liberalism in our politics. For liberals in 2021, reviving our political philosophy has to start from the same point.

“The challenges facing our country and our world are very different today. Globalisation has changed the way we live and made national boundaries less relevant than they have ever been before. The climate crisis has thrown up challenges that few in earlier generations had foreseen. Paradoxically, when presented with these challenges many have turned to populist nationalist politics which have more to do with the problems of the past than the solutions of the future. We have a duty and an opportunity to offer a better path forward.

“The foreword to Paddy’s book in 1989 was written by my illustrious predecessor as MP for Orkney and Shetland, Jo Grimond. Jo inspired a new generation in the 1950s and 1960s with radical thinking, rooted in liberal first principles and philosophy. I am glad to follow the trail blazed by both Jo and Paddy and support the development of new liberal ideas.”

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