Thursday, October 18, 2007

I need an undecided column.........

If you had told me a week ago that I would even contemplate voting for Nick Clegg, I'd have cheekily retorted that I would rather take up rugby than do any such thing. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy and worked hard to get him selected at the top of the European list in the East Midlands for the 1998 elections. His excellent credentials are, however, blighted by his stance on economic affairs. I have a lot of affection for public services and social justice and I don't think the economic liberal model works for things like healthcare - look at the US where most of the poor and vulnerable have no access to decent health insurance.

I haven't got the first clue how I would vote in a Clegg/Huhne fight. For the first time in my life I have sympathy for those who have told me on doorsteps up and down the country that they don't know who they are going to vote for. I have never participated in an election in that position - I've known right from the start of the campaign where my loyalties lie.

I'm quite looking forward to the campaign that nobody really wanted to have right now.

4 comments:

Jonny Wright said...

What's wrong with Clegg's stance on social justice? I suspect you're just stereotyping him because of his role in writing the Orange Book - but if you read the chapter he wrote, you'll know that it's actually about the EU, and it's damn sensible!

Tristan said...

I really think you haven't thought through economic liberalism.

What it says is fundamental to liberalism - markets are best because of efficiency and to allow choice.

If we deny choice (which is what the NHS does) you are denying freedom.

There are plenty of more liberal and market ways to provide health care, they work better than the single supplier model of the NHS. This doesn't mean the US model (which is also severely flawed), it means a liberal model which brings people into the market rather than shutting it down.

Douglas McLellan said...

What do you mean by social justice? And why do you think that Nick Clegg has a poor stance on it?

As a country, Britain will always have the Social Liberal values of state suppoted education and health services. The key arguement is about how those values are implemented.

Nothing in the Organge Book sought to remove those values. David Laws argued that the NHS could be replaced by a state-backed insurance scheme. It still means that health would be free at the point of delivery.

Remember, Steve Webb also wrote for the Orange Book. His article was for massive state intervention in familty life through the voluntary sector. Furthermore, he aslo looked for a greater role for religion in family life. Neither of these ideas stikes me as liberal.

Douglas

Stephen Glenn said...

I very much doubt Caron is stereotyping Nick but is basing her judgement on her long association with him since her days down south as well as where he has positioned himself in recent years.

Tristan while I agree that economic liberalism does have a place in our party's ethos it has always historically been one of the bones of greatest contention down through the years; as we, and our predecessors, always attempt to get the balance right between free-market mechanisms whilst insuring social justice. It's because we haven't ruled out either as the great sin that we have a distinctiveness from the other two main parties.

Our party doesn't want the full out neo-con approach nor do we seek a complete socialist manifesto. However, while a number of the economists within the party seem to be focused on greater liberalism in those areas some of the rest of us are still looking at the checks the other way. How losing those will affect the ability of the worse off in our community to benefit from the availability of such freedoms.

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