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Andrew Murday sets out some brief thoughts on modern liberal democrat politics

At the start of the twentieth century Liberal governments began the process of developing welfare state. Subsequently, Liberal civil servant William Beveridge produced his report in 1943 which set the foundations of the modern welfare state and the founding of the National Health Service after the second world war. At the same time economics was dominated by the consensus based on the economic philosophy of another prominent liberal John Maynard Keynes. This lasted until the 1980's when the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher rejected that consensus and embraced neo-liberalism.

Since then, despite the progressive increase in overall GDP, the standard of living between the richest and the poorest in our society has dramatically increased and the median has not changed. Only the very rich have benefited. Since 2010, using the 2008 banking crisis as an excuse, the conservatives, restrained to a degree by the Liberal Democrats in coalition until 2015, have been intent on dismantling the state. We are now faced with increasing poverty, drastically reduced public services and local authorities facing bankruptcy.

In these circumstances is it any surprise that those most affected, people who have seen no improvement in their own and their families' lives over the past 30 years have turned to snake oil salesmen, who have sold them promises which are both wild and false? On one hand we have the extreme right whose motivation is financial gain for themselves in a deregulated, low-tax economic environment. On the other hand there is the left wing socialist opposition who want to turn back to an unworkable and discredited centrally controlled economy which we know will fail to provide the wealth which the state needs to finance a supportive society.

Neither of these groups have policies which will tackle the principal issue that currently faces the human race, namely the degradation of the environment. Liberal Democrat green policies include elimination of fracking and much greater investment in renewable energy sources. It is effective environmental policies which will determine the future of our grandchildren.

There is a middle way, and in the United Kingdom that way is now represented by the Liberal Democrat Party. We need to show that we can be a political force that is good for the vast majority, a movement that listens, cares and supports all members of society to achieve their full potential in a social, political and physical environment that is healthy and sustainable for the generations to come.

Follow Andrew on twitter: @ajmurday