The use of the word Radical in our name is a deliberate choice. It symbolises two things.
Firstly, it symbolises that we are radical in our goals. We ultimately want the Liberal Democrats to become the largest party in the United Kingdom and we’re in favour of radical action to reform the party – such as organising in internal elections, reforming the party institutions and not being afraid to criticise the party establishment when they get it wrong.
Secondly it symbolises that we draw inspiration from the history of Radicalism and Radical Liberalism. While the world we live in is very different from the one lived in by the Victorian and Edwardian Radicals, many of the problems they grappled with – such as political reform, and systemic social and economic inequality – are still with us. Just like them we favour radical policy solutions for the great issues of the day rather than merely tinkering with the status quo.
The Radical Association is not specifically left or right wing (other than the fact that we see that the natural role for the Liberal Democrats is as a left of centre alternative to the Conservatives) and the policies we might end up supporting probably won’t usually fit onto a simple left-right spectrum.
For example, policies like land value taxation have support from radicals on both the left and the right of the Liberal Democrats. That’s why we’re not a left or right wing association. We’re just a home for those who want the Liberal Democrats to offer a radical and distinctive vision for the future of our country and we’ll support policies which will help achieve that regardless of their ideological heritage.
So that’s what we stand for: radical reform of the Liberal Democrats to turn the party into the mass political movement we know it can be and a radical, liberal vision for making our country a better place. That’s what we mean when we call ourselves radical.