Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A brilliant interview from Tim Farron. But...

There's a really brilliant interview with awesome Tim Farron in the Guardian where he basically says what most Lib Dems are thinking about the Coalition. I can't recommend enough that you go and read it here.

I do, however, have one teensy criticism of what Tim's said:
Q: At the Lib Dem conference, the party passed a motion that could lead the way to the partial decriminalisation of drugs [it said the government should set up a panel to review the drug laws and that it should consider decriminalising the possession of controlled drugs for personal use]. Is that something that will appear in the party manifesto? 
A: That's a good question. It's important we do reflect what the members support. Our view on drugs is that the debate is so witless … politicians don't seem to be able to help themselves but take populist lines on these things, and ill-informed ones.
I've highlighted in italics the bit I disagree with. This isn't a mistake that Tim alone makes as it's the case amongst a lot of our MPs and other important figures in the party. Because the fact is that it's not enough just to "reflect what the members support". Conference, where every member can have an equal say and an equal vote, is sovereign on policy. If the membership decides on a policy then it is the duty of the leadership and our MPs to accept it and advocate it, even if they disagree with it personally. Now, the leadership does have the power to decide what to prioritise in our manifestos, but what Tim's said implies that the leadership only needs to reflect what conference decides. Well that simply isn't good enough. This isn't one of these fiddly little bits that can be ignored, it is vital to our party's constitution and the fundamental ethos of this party that conference and conference only has the final say on policy. And, as someone who is frequently spoken of as a potential future party leader, I hope Tim realises this.

2 comments:

  1. George, great attention to detail. Yes. Well said, these tiny changes in the way things are worded lead to an erosion of the original premise and before you know it, there is an entirely different meaning. Language is SO important - watch out for what those at the top say and how they say it!! And don't let it slip by unnoticed and unchallenged.

    ReplyDelete
  2. quote:"the fact is that it's not enough just to "reflect what the members support". Conference, where every member can have an equal say and an equal vote, is sovereign on policy. If the membership decides on a policy then it is the duty of the leadership and our MPs to accept it and advocate it, even if they disagree with it personally."

    Yes, we saw this work so well when conference voted for your motion on welfare reform which the Orange Book cabinet members have totally ignored.....

    ReplyDelete

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