The current United Kingdom government is a coalition government formed by among other political parties including the Liberal Democrats. Led by Nick Clegg, the liberal democrats are a social liberal political party in the UK that supports electoral and constitutional reform, environmentalism, progressive taxation, banking reform, human rights laws and civil liberties.
History of the Liberal Democrats
This British party was founded on 3rd March 1988 via a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party. Earlier, the two parties had formed an alliance called SDP-Liberal Alliance led by David Steel. However, following the disappointing outcome in 1987, Steel proposed the merger between the two parties.
The new party was initially named Social and Liberal Democrats shorted unofficially as The Democrats. However, this was only up to September 1987 after which the name was changed to the current Liberal Democrats in October 1989 and shortened as Lib Dems. Nick Clegg was elected as the leader in 2007.The elections held in 2010 saw the Liberal Democrats 57 seats with 23 per cent of the vote. This made them the third largest party in British House of Commons.
The Ideology of the Liberal Democrats
The preamble of the party reads, “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.” The party has two separate ideologies including economic liberals and social liberals.
The economic liberals (also known as Orange Bookers) support competition and greater choice and thus aiming to increase social mobility by promoting economic freedom and opportunities for those who are disadvantaged in terms of their backgrounds. The social liberals on the other hand seek to increase equality of outcome through state means.
Liberal Democrats were the initial major party in the United Kingdom to officially endorse same sex–marriage. The party also has some strong ideologies and policies that are aimed at promoting the welfare of the citizens of United Kingdom as well as their rights. Such policies include those on health, education, economy, crime, justice and immigration, political reform and foreign policy.
Achievements of the Party
Since it was founded, the party has gone through turmoil and periods of growth, which culminated in them becoming the third largest party in the United Kingdom House of Commons. Because of the strength of the Liberal Democrats party in the 2010 general elections, they were a formidable force to form a coalition government with so that the government could martial enough members to operate.
The formation of the coalition government showed the leader of Liberal Democrats get the Deputy Prime minister position. However, after joining the coalition government, the party saw its rating fall. This is perhaps because the party was “swallowed up” by the other stronger parties. The reason many political analysts cite is the support of the party for the government on raising the cap on tuition fees. In this cap, Liberal Democrats voted 27 for, 21 against with eight abstaining from the vote.