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Keywords:

  • education;
  • Fabianism;
  • liberalism;
  • positive freedom;
  • social justice;
  • social mobility

Education policy was a vital theme of The Orange Book, even though there was no dedicated chapter. The book's commitment to using economically liberal means to deliver social liberal ends was the basis for a substantial repositioning of Liberal Democrat education policy ahead of the General Election, paving the way for agreement with the Conservatives on radical reform of educational delivery. At the same time, the Liberal commitment to education as the key driver of social justice, based on arguments of positive freedom, underpinned the party's election commitment to increasing resources for the most disadvantaged pupils through the Pupil Premium. This Liberal commitment to positive freedom and education distinguishes it from the welfarist bias of Fabianism; it was a key divide in progressive tradition in the 19th century and the division has endured to this day, reflected in the contrast between the welfarism of Gordon Brown and the social mobility agenda of the coalition.