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William Francis

William has been a member of the Lib Dems for about 5 years and is an executive member of the Radical Association which advocates for a radical, distinctive and pro-EU identity for the party

Posts by William Francis

Ownership for all

One of the most glaring contradictions of British politics is the increasing attention paid to economic inequality by academics and the public, whilst decisions made by the central government do little to address this problem and actively make it worse. I suspect this has to do with wealth inequality being framed as an abstraction; something to be vaguely 'tackled' rather than a clear narrative about how policy should improve the lived experiences of ordinary people. A positive Liberal case for mass ownership could be the remedy to this problem.

Liberals have long seen property as fundamental for creating liberty. For the Liberal MP Hilaire Belloc, this chiefly meant promoting ownership of small landholdings and stakes in co-operative enterprises. This was a cornerstone of Distributism, a proposed alternative to what Belloc saw as the collectivist ideologies of socialism and capitalism. That ideology was highly influential among the Unservile State group, who saw property as a form of economic security independent of employment or state welfare, with the Liberal Parliamentary candidate Ramsay Muir, arguing that 'liberty will be strengthened by the almost universal possession of "a bit of property" '.

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