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On liberty

Philip Collins and Richard Reeves have told Labour to "liberalise." But their notion of liberty is confused

By Helen Goodman   July 2008

Labour won the 2005 general election on the somewhat vacuous slogan of “Forward not back,” but now we learn from Philip Collins and Richard Reeves that we could go simultaneously forward and back to the Liberal election victory of 1906.

In their article “Liberalise or die” (Prospect, June 2008), Collins/Reeves argue that we should abandon social democracy for liberalism. But it turns out that this is just a function of their arbitrary labelling. Where they agree with a policy (being more green or raising inheritance tax), they call it “liberal”; where they disagree (as on tackling childhood obesity or regulating…

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