Chris Neal retired from fixed income and derivatives broking in the City in 1999. He is now CEO of the charity GB Job Clubs and administers The Jericho Fund, a micro finance project.
Peter Joyce and Geoffrey Sell describe an Eton and Oxford educated party leader thus:
“A long-term opponent of statism, the view that social advance could only be brought about through the action of the state. His opposition to state action was partly based on the belief that this enhanced the power of bureaucracies, transforming those who received state services into the passive recipients of handouts, devaluing their humanity by depriving them of the ability to take decisions which affected their everyday lives. His firm belief in the importance of participation and the need for individuals to possess freedom of choice resulted in him viewing communities as the key social unit in which individuals could intellectually develop their full potential by sharing in the pursuit of common goals.”
“He found in small self-sufficient communities paradigms against which he measured the lunacies of central government and the welfare state... He deserves credit for placing on the political agenda issues such as how Britain should handle her relative decline in the world and how government should be brought closer to the people.”
I was struck by the similarity of the "Big Society not Big Government" message from David Cameron and those quotes from the Joyce/Sell Biography of the late Liberal leader Lord Jo Grimond found here.
I believe it highlights the flawed tribal nature of our politics. I feel truly sorry that the Liberals have abandoned such a rich political heritage for the politics of envy we now find entrenched in their 2010 Manifesto. They now espouse a misguided socialist agenda of taxing the rich and disincentivising enterprise with policies like the mansion tax and more than doubling capital gains tax.