'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Is it me?

It probably is. And this isn't a finger wagging exercise having a go at any group in the party. I've just blogged how we don't do that. I'd genuinely like some feedback.

In all the commentary I've read about the excellent Social Liberal Forum, one thing I keep seeing was that the event was a marker demonstrating the strength of social liberals in the party versus 'The Orange Bookers'. Fair enough. But then I also have read several times that the support of two cabinet ministers at the event - Chris Huhne and Vince Cable - was a physical demonstration of that.

Yes, Chris and Vince are/were both contributing authors to The Orange Book?

So my question is: if writing the Orange Book doesn't make you part of 'that club' - then what does?

Let me reiterate. I'm not taking sides here. I would genuinely like to know. Have Chris and Vince renounced their writing? Yes I know Vince comes from Labour originally - he still contributed to the Orange Book. Am I missing a subtlety of internal Lib Dem politics?

Or more likely - has 'Orange Book' just become a handy but inaccurate/inappropriate descriptor of the right of the party?

Is it me who is confused? Or is the term a confusion in itself?


  1. Most people who criticise the Orange Book and "Orange Bookers" haven't read it - and the few who have haven't understood it. I've long decided that anybody who uses the phrase "Orange Booker" as some kind of slur isn't worth debating with.


  2. "has 'Orange Book' just become a handy but inaccurate/inappropriate descriptor of the right of the party?"

    Yes, basically.

    The only chapter of the 'Orange Book' that was controversial was David Law's chapter on NHS reform.

    Because of the reaction to that chapter the Orange Book became seen as more right wing than most of it actually was.

    Along with attempts by David and others to shift the party's position on other issues including tax and education the tag 'Orange Booker' has come to mean something entirely different to 'wrote a chapter in the Orange Book'.

    (Other chapters were written by the likes of Steve Webb whose views are firmly on the left of the party (in so far as left and right are useful descriptors in themselves)).

  3. Thanks both - JHSB, just read your piece, very good. It does seem 'Orange Booker' has become a slightly lazy and inappropriate tag for the right. doesn't it?