Political activities

Things I've done in the Liberal Democrats

 

Federal committees

The Federal Policy Committee oversees the party's policy-making process, including drawing up election manifestos from amongst the policies agreed by conference. I've been an elected member since 2008 and was one of the committee's three Vice Chairs between 2012 and 2019.


In 2018–19 I chaired the FPC's working group on climate policy, which produced the policy paper Tackling the Climate Emergency, approved by the autumn 2019 conference.

The Federal Conference Committee runs the party's two annual conferences, including setting the agenda. I was a member from 1995 to 2010, and again from 2019, and the committee's Chair from 2003 to 2010. 

Policy-maker

I was co-editor of The Green Book: New Directions for Liberals in Government (2013) and of The Green Manifesto: How to increase living standards, improve quality of life and future-proof the economy (2014). I also co-edited Reinventing the State: Social Liberalism for the 21st Century (2007) and wrote its chapter on 'Equality'.

Special adviser

I was a special adviser to Chris Huhne at the Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2010 to 2012, during the coalition government.

Party staffer

From 1984 to 1987 I worked for Liberal MPs in the House of Commons. From 1988 to 1994 I was the Liberal Democrats' first Director of Policy.

Liberal historian

I helped establish the Liberal Democrat History Group, which encourages the discussion and research of the histories of the Liberal Democrats and its two predecessor parties, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, and I edit its quarterly Journal of Liberal History.

Publications

Politics

  • ‘Lessons from the Ashdown–Blair “project”’, in Lisa Nandy MP, Caroline Lucas MP and Chris Bowers (eds.), The Alternative: Towards a New Progressive Politics (Biteback Publishing, 2016)

  • The Green Book: New Directions for Liberals in Government (with Paul Burall, Neil Stockley and Mike Tuffrey (eds.), Biteback Publishing, 2013)

  • ‘The Liberal Democrats and the Role of the State’, in Simon Griffiths and Kevin Hickson (eds.), British Party Politics and Ideology after New Labour (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

  • ‘Political Economy’, in Kevin Hickson (ed.), The Political Thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945 (Manchester University Press, 2009)

  • Reinventing the State: Social Liberalism for the 21st Century (with Richard S. Grayson and David Howarth MP (eds.), Politico’s Publishing, 2007); also author of chapter on ‘Equality’

  • ‘Liberal Democrat Policy’ in The Liberal Democrats (Don MacIver (ed.), Prentice Hall, 1996)

  • Why I am a Liberal Democrat (ed., Liberal Democrat Publications, 1996)

  • The Myth of the Social Market: David Owen’s Economic Policy (LINk Publications, 1989); summary and updated articles in Political Quarterly (1990) and Journal of Liberal History (2005)


History​​

  • British Liberal Leaders (with Robert Ingham and Tony Little (eds.), Biteback Publishing, 2015); also author of chapter on Paddy Ashdown

  • Dictionary of Liberal Quotations (ed., Biteback Publishing, 2013)

  • Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679–2011 (with Robert Ingham (eds.), Biteback Publishing, 2011)

  • ‘Liberal Democrat Leadership: The Cases of Ashdown and Kennedy’, Political Quarterly 78:1, 2007

  • Dictionary of Liberal Thought (with Ed Randall (eds.), Politico’s Publishing, 2007); also author of several entries

  • Great Liberal Speeches (with Tony Little (eds.), Politico’s Publishing, 2001)

  • Dictionary of Liberal Biography (ed., Politico’s Publishing, 1998)

  • The Myth of the Social Market: David Owen’s Economic Policy (LINk Publications, 1989); summary and updated articles in Political Quarterly (1990) and Journal of Liberal History (2005)

Counterfactuals

  • Prime Minister Corbyn … and Other Things that Never Happened (with Iain Dale (eds.), Biteback Publishing, 2016)

  • Prime Minister Boris … and Other Things that Never Happened (with Iain Dale (eds.), Biteback Publishing, 2011)

  • President Gore … and Other Things that Never Happened (ed.), Politico’s Publishing, 2006); also author of chapter on ‘What if the Alliance had not quarrelled publicly on defence in 1986?’

  • Prime Minister Portillo … and Other Things that Never Happened (with Iain Dale (eds.), Politico’s Publishing, 2003)

 
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