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WHY DID THE THIRD WAY AMEND ITS NAME?

Graham Williamson explains

Some members and supporters of our Party have asked why we have amended the name ‘Third Way’ to incude the explanation ‘National Liberal Party’. Let me explain. Whilst many might be able to identify what the first and second ‘ways’ are meant to represent i.e. State Socialism and Capitalism they struggle to understand the alternative ‘Way’ we represent.

In the twentieth century there were numerous claims of a ‘Third’ even a ‘Fourth Way’ be it ideological or political. In most countries politics was traditionally reduced to left versus right so it was not unatural for some to seek an alternative ‘third way’. What alternative political creed they envisaged however differed greatly between countries and times.

The first grouping actually named the ‘Third Way’ emerged in Europe after the 2nd World War. This was a collection of small socialist parties, opposed yes to capitalism but also Marxist-Leninist socialism. In earlier times Mussolini had used the term to highlight his rejection of ‘Liberal Democracy’ and ‘Bolshevism’. In modern times Tony Blair and Bill Clinton adopted the phrase to describe their re-hashed version of Social democracy. Clearly there were great differences between what each of them meant by the term. We need to ask therefore what makes our Third Way distinct and how do we make it clear to the wider world what we are for as distinct from what we are against?

There are two fundamental beliefs underpinning our philosophy.

First, the importance of personal freedom, which in England might be be encapuslated by the phrase ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. This is not say this belief isn’t shared by other peoples but unlike others we have never suffered a significant loss of liberty for many years and thus we have always taken it for granted.

However the decline of moral standards and traditional self-regulating mechanisms e.g. ‘Community Spirit’, is now threatening our Civil Liberties. Why?

Rather than deal with the root causes of an increase in criminal, anti-social and lately terrorist bevaviour the state has turned to a whole raft of restrictive laws and the so-called ‘quick fix’ of technology e.g. CCTV, or ID Cards. This is facilitating the onset of a ‘Big Brother’ society. We instinctivally know this is wrong, dangerous and even counter-productive. The criminal and terrorist will surely keep one step ahead of the system, whilst leaving the law abiding citizen to foot the bill and suffer the inveitable delays, interference with day-to-day life and miscarriages of Justice. Worse still no-one can guarantee that all future governments will be benevolent and not seek to abuse these new powers. We believe in the importance of protecting personal liberty.

Second, we recognise that a healthy and stable society is built upon the bedrock of functioning families and communities. That is not to say that we see diverse lifestyles as a threat – merely that we understand that they can only flourish in a balanced, confident society. Uniting all of us is the ‘nation’ for which individuals will sacrifice some of their independence e.g. laws or wealth e.g. taxes. There is no other reason why we would willingly make such sacrifices unless it is to benefit others, most of whom we will never meet, but who we reagard as ‘one of us’. This of course is true for all nationalities be they British, French or Somali.

Today supra-national bodies such as the unreformed EU threaten the constitutional sovereignty of European nation-states. Economic trends such as ‘Globalisation’ also threaten national identity and social instability by encouraging the mass-migration of people or finance. Big business and our so-called political elites have become ‘internationalist’ in their outlook and see no need to oppose these developments. We believe in the importance of the nation.

We see the protection of individual freedoms (liberalism) and national independence (nationalism) as fundamentally important. Both are vital to the well-being of individuals. For this reason we say our ‘Third Way’ is best described as National Liberalism and therefore have amended our full title to the ‘National Liberal Party-the Third Way’. The Third Way itself will remain a ‘Think-tank’ seeking to influence a variety of groups whilst the National Liberal Party will represent the party political wing in elections.

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