Saturday 6 June 2015

Who's debating this merger except the Independent?

Today the Independent have a comment piece about the reignited debate of a Labour/Lib Dem merger. But where is this debate/

Firstly as a party member for 27 years I am not aware there ever was a debate of a merger, there was talk of a centre left coalition with Labour ahead of 1997, but coalition is not merger, it is two parties with somewhat similar outlooks working together after contesting seats on their own accord to be an effective majority (like what ended up happening from 2010-15).

Secondly as a someone active in quite a lot of internal forums both with activists and candidates (something I have been in the last three elections) I have heard no buzz about a merger with Labour, even from my fellow social liberals. Instead the talk is all about returning to our own identity now that we are out of coalition, standing up for Liberal values not trying to position ourselves as being able to work with Labour or Conservatves simply for the sake of coalition but to stand up of Liberals first and foremost.

With 25% of the party membership coming to us after the general election we are growing fast, and those new and enthusiastic members are welcome and have come to us because of what we are, they haven't joined Labour. This is just like those of us who are social liberal who remained in the party since entering coalition did not run off and join them either (though I admit that some did).

We owe it to the 17,000 new Liberal Democrats as well as the 44,000 who remained with us to stand up for our liberal values as laid our in the preamble to our constitution. These are liberal values and how we express them in practice is down to conference. We are Liberal Democrats, not Labour, not Conservatives be prepares to hear us roar again.

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