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Leith on language: Rebooting liberalism

"I want to say we need a liberalism worthy of the name. But before that, we need a name worthy of the concept"

By Sam Leith   March 2017

©Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

What’s a liberal? The question is coming to seem, as liberals like to say, “problematic.” Now being a liberal myself—a “wishy-washy liberal,” a “member of the metropolitan liberal elite”—I’m ever more concerned as to what the word means. It’s a political problem wrapped in a linguistic one.

My late grandfather, for instance, stood twice for parliament in the 1940s as an “old-style Liberal.” The old style, be it said, would not be…

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