Thursday, August 11, 2011

Note to Lib Dem MPs: We need passionate, emotional liberalism as well as sense, from you

I know this is very early on in today's parliamentary proceedings but I am feeling a bit woeful.

This is exactly the moment when this country needs a strong, heartfelt liberal voice to counteract increasingly ridiculous suggestions on how to deal with the appalling theft & violence we've seen over the last week.

There are petitions all over the place calling for those convicted to be sent to Afghanistan or to lose their benefits. Tory MPs are calling for tear gas, water cannon and baton rounds, for offenders to be rounded up the Army & taken to Wembley Stadium, for the shutdown of Facebook & Twitter and for a marriage tax break and they are pretty much going unchallenged.

I would not expect the Labour party to mount much of a challenge to this. I expect more from Liberal Democrats. It annoys me that the only person so far warning against militarisation of the situation has been Diane Abbott. Jack Straw, one of the most illiberal home secretaries in my lifetime, was positively drooling at the thought of sending more people to jail, like it was going to work.

Now, I have no doubt that our ministers will have been arguing for the most liberal & proportionate response to what's happened. I wonder if terrorism powers might have been invoked without them there. They are doing a good job.

The contributions made by Liberal Democrat MPs so far have been full of sense & credibility. They have been entirely rational. But there has been precious little yet which has challenged illiberal notions or passionately put forward a distinct Liberal Democrat position.

Yes, it was good that Bob Smith asked for extra time for affected businesses to file their tax returns, for Jenny Willott to suggest that any enquiry took note of the places where violence was averted, that John Leech talked about media footage being used to identify perpetrators.

Better were Tom Brake for challenging the Tory policy of electing police commissioners, Stephen Williams for bringing inequality into the discussion and Julian Huppert for robustly defending social networks.

There's been nothing so far, though, that truly sets us apart from the others. This is one of those times when we really need a strong liberal democrat voice to balance some of the nonsense flying around. We must not allow ourselves to be constrained by being in Government. I'm hoping that in the Debate later that some of our number will step up in the hours ahead and present a liberal case that will resonate with people.

We can't afford to pass up the chance to do so. For the national interest, not just narrow political ends.

Update: I've literally jumped up and cheered twice this afternoon. Once was for Stephen Williams, the second was for Jo Swinson, asking the Chancellor to assure her that if he had any extra money he'd put it into infrastructure or skills development and not subscribe to the "voodoo economics of tax cuts for the rich". Osborne's answer implied that he'd just love to do that. It's good to see that Liberal Democrats will do all they can to stand in his way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


cynicalHighlander said...

Bankers steal from the taxpayer, politicians steal/stole from the taxpayer, police are accused of various criminal activities. Those MPs who could afford to pay back their immoral gains got off scot free as do the tax avoiders.

When those at the 'top' of society can act with such impunity is it any wonder the masses start to riot.

Sense and LibDems, when as everything that I have heard from them is in defense the great British morals. Was never there only in fairy tales to hide the truth.

Anonymous said...

cynicial highlander - you appear to generalise these groups of people - why not start to treat people as people - as there are good & bad in all walks of life or is it differnt in the Highlands????

cynicalHighlander said...

# Anonymous

Everyone generalises to a greater or lesser degree and since the majority of those highlighted are guilty (my opinion) then that sets the trend.

How many bankers have been taken in front of a judge for stealing from society to feather their own and friends nests?

When over 300 politicians stole from the taxpayer out of 650 equate that % into the general public who could break the law that would be called anarchy.

The LibDems tried to act high and moral and have shown that they are just making up the numbers so that the government can do what it wants. What happened to a 'Recall of MPs' which was high in their manifesto propoganda, they would of all been recalled by now for their about turns in all their pledges.

When we get a grown up democracy in this UK will be a day to rejoice as what we have is a complete charade more akin too a dictatorship.

An Open Letter to David Cameron’s Parents

Cllr Graham Neale said...

At last, like a breath of fresh air, a considered response. Maybe before we all lurch to the right we should take a deep breath, and remember the liberal part of LIbeal Democrats

Malcolm Todd said...

"Everyone generalises to a greater or lesser degree"...

Wow, cynicalHighlander - points for self-satire! ;-)


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