A hundred years ago, the Liberal landslide victory in the 1906 election opened the way for a period of radical social reform based on the social-liberal ideology of the New Liberalism.
British Liberalism changed decisively from its nineteenth-century Gladstonian inheritance of non-interventionism in economic and social issues to accepting a much more activist role for the state, exemplified by the introduction of graduated income tax, old-age pensions and national insurance. With a few exceptions, the party adhered to this social liberalism throughout the remainder of the century.
In 2004, the authors of the Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism challenged this nanny-state liberalism and argued that the Liberal Democrats needed to return to their nineteenth-century heritage and reclaim economic liberalism.
Which way now for the Liberal Democrats? What can we draw from the lessons of history? Debate the question with Paul Marshall, co-editor of the Orange Book and its successor, and Ed Randall, co-editor of the Dictionary of Liberal Thought.