Friday, 26 June 2015

I want to be proud of what we couldn't do in Government

Yes as Liberal Democrats we now have a record in Government nationally. We have to admit there are some things that as the junior partner of that Government we were unable to prevent, but there were other things that without us would not have been achieved.

However, that is our record in Government and enough people will have written or have yet to write about those achievements. What I want us as Liberal Democrats to focus on are the things from our 2010 manifesto that we were unable to achieve in Government because the conservatives would not want us to.

Why should I do that?

Simple the reason is it shows that we are our own party, not one that can be absorbed into either the Conservatives or Labour, or even fit nicely in alongside the Greens. Sure there are components of what we as Liberal Democrats stand for that all three of those parties listed can agree with and that goes for the SNP and Plaid Cymru as well, there are even elements that Euroscpetic UKIP can agree with Europhile Lib Dems over. But the raison d'être that makes Liberal Democrats tick is the thing that would infuriate any of the other parties.

It is the things that we couldn't get into a programme of Government with the Conservatives that make us not Conservative poodles. The manifesto we decided to put out for the last election was lacking in the conviction, as many radical ideas and a clear liberal agenda of those in the past. We were positioning for Government not position for liberalism.

That is what I want our party to be proud of our policies that other parties want to shy away from. Those policies that are based on need, science, making society fairer for all not one group or another. Only the Liberal Democrats can look past the demands of the richest that the Tories bow to, or the Unions that Labour still kow-tow to no matter how much they claim to have changed. We do however stand up for business and the workers. Realising that one needs the other and vice versa but that there should be opportunity for everyone to get on with their life unencumbered by too many constraints.

When looking at who to lead us forwards as a party while both candidates are truly liberals, I want the one whose prime objective is to make us liberal first and as a result give us a voice in Government, not aim for a voice in Government as the prime goal diluting our liberalism to appeal to both Tories and Labour.

In recent days I've seen too many of the Normtroopers say that they want to be led back into Government without any mention of liberalism. If that is your aim join the Tories or Labour and have an easy ride into Government. The reason I got into politics was to stand up for liberal values. Looking at what the current Government is doing on welfare, refusing to accept refugees who risk their lives from resettling here, accelerating removing the wind farm subsidy, restoring the snoopers charter and forgetting the "Northern Powerhouse" when it comes to trains shows that there needs to be a liberal voice.

That liberal voice needs to appeal to the many people who basically share our liberal values. That liberal voice needs to reach out to them so that local candidates and activists can get alongside those people on the doorsteps and harness that renewed enthusiasm for our party. That voice needs to connect to the people about the things on their hearts.

I know that voice in the one that Tim Farron can give our party and make us strong again. Strong in our values, strong in our liberalism and as a result strong in our council wards, devolved Governments and Westminster.

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