Monday, 15 November 2010

A reason to be cheerful

The Lib Dems just had their internal elections and, in addition to the excellent Tim Farron being elected, several of the people elected to the party committees are what the Guardian describes as "anti-Tories".

Now, as the about me part of this blog says, I'm social liberal leaning. In fact, I'm more than social liberal leaning, I am a social liberal through and through. As such I naturally dislike the tories. I think Conservatism (capital C) is selfish, ignorant and immoral. Not that I hate every Tory supporter. I've met quite a few Conservatives over the years and most of them seem to be perfectly nice people who have good reasons for believing what they do. They're wrong of course, but that's only my opinion and I respect them for having found a world-view which they believe in. It's the same thing for me with a lot of Labourites - I disagree with them but I respect them.

But anyway, back to the Guardian article. It says:

Liberal Democrat candidates who called for their party to move away from Tory policies triumphed in internal elections for its two ruling bodies at the weekend.
Nick Clegg has been at pains to emphasise the Lib Dem leadership supports all coalition government policies, but the former MP Evan Harris topped the poll, calling for the party to "distance ourselves from Conservative policies that have been imposed on our ministers".
Now, besides having admiration for the brilliant man who is Dr Evan Harris, I think that this is spot on. Too many people see us as just an adjunct of a Tory government, implementing and defending their policies whilst getting nothing in return. Which, of course, is nonsense (see the list at the bottom of my article here). So I'm very glad to see so many great candidates elected (on of them being Guildford's candidate at the last election, Sue Doughty) who, whilst not being rabidly anti-Tory, do disagree with them on lots of key issues more than Nick Clegg seems to.

To me, this is vital for the part's future. One of the well known aspects of the behavioural sciences is the way people's opinions can be dragged far from their starting position by relatively small changes - a person who agrees to put an anti-smoking sticker on their windscreen will agree to put a large ant-smoking placard on their lawn a few years later even when they were opposed to it previously. This is why the election of so many social liberal candidates is a good thing. It will stop us from being dragged to the right and will hopefully make Nick and Vince come to their senses. We're a social liberal party and I think that with these elections we will definitely remain one.

Finally, a word from Dr Harris:

"Nick Clegg should know that while the party mainstream supports him, these election results demonstrate that they want to help him resist more effectively Tory-initiated policies which are not in the coalition agreement and which are antithetical to Liberal Democrat policies and principles."
 You said it mate, you said it.

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