Since the 2008 financial crisis, all sorts of genies have been let out of the bottle, with all kinds of thrilling possibilities. The internet and social media have democratised information. Smartphones and tablets have revolutionised how we consume information and communicate. First-time voters born in the mid-90s are digital natives. The Scottish referendum revealed a desire for a better kind of politics. The Olympics revealed a new confidence about Britain. There are imaginative responses to all of these opportunities, but those of us who are excited about the future (our future), don’t see our competence and excitement reflected in mainstream political discourse.
The Whig Party was refounded in late 2014 in response to this malaise in British politics, which was most apparent by the rise of Ukip, the collapse of the Liberal Democrats, and the failure of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party to articulate an inspiring vision of Britain’s future. The United Kingdom remains a fundamentally liberal country, yet by 2014 there was no party that spoke for intelligent voters who are sceptical of ideology, and instinctively liberal on social and economic issues. Britain needed the Whigs, and on 7 November 2014 the Party announced its return in a press release titled The Camberwell Declaration
We contested four seats at the 2015 General Election. In terms of electoral arithmetic, our effect was trivial. But in terms of our contribution to the debate, and the positivity of our message, this was a profoundly important first step. There now exists in the United Kingdom a genuinely progressive party that is pro-EU, pro-immigration, pro-gender equality, which believes that representative democracy is the best way to achieve social justice and defend human rights. The 2015 general election campaign was our demo tape. In 2020 we will drop our first album.
“If you think that our options are not good enough, then don’t not vote. Help to build something that is good enough.”
The Camberwell Declaration