Saturday, 11 December 2010

I Agree With Nick

Nothing turns my stomach more than seeing Lib Dem MPs turn against a personal pledge (rather than a manifesto promise) and vote with the Government on tuition fees. Whilst I may now be persuaded by the economic and political arguments about the need for tuition fees, I still cannot understand such a flagrant disregard for a personal promise.

Perhaps I'm just old fashioned and believe an oath to be binding. A pledge of loyalty to a cause should not be broken so easily. And that's why, in a really messed up way, I still agree with Nick.

During the heady days of Cleggmania (remember those happy times?) I stood there at rallies in Watford and Blackheath and supported Nick Clegg's revival of our party. After the Coalition was formed I had reservations, though I was initially supportive, and then declared neutrality. My criticisms then still stand. But that doesn't mean I don't support what Nick Clegg is trying to do. He is trying to make this "brave experiment" of Coalition work. Our party has been in opposition (in various forms) for nearly a century. Clegg has rolled the dice. The worst that can happen is we remain an irrelevancy. The best is that he can prove liberal values, are good values. That we are above petty left-right squabbling and can work with other parties for the benefit of the country. That's a goal worth risking our necks for.

I must say I do find it amusing when Labour supporters scream "You're going to be out of Government for decades, an irrelevant footnote of history!". Have they not been paying attention? That's what we've always been. I know power for the sake of power is important to the Tories and Labour, but the loss of power is not likely to send Lib Dem activists into a collective depression! Perhaps this time, things can be different.

The preamble to our party Constitution states:

"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which noone shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives."

I still agree with that. And I still agree with Nick.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Russ said...

Jae, It is not the fact that the Lib Dems will return to the wilderness that bothers me it is the fact that Clegg had a chance. He should have stood firm on PR and Fees, refused to take part in any coalition without that agreement. If he had done that the Lib Dems would have had, what I consider to be, an essential role in any further government. That role is the moderation of the extremes. By rolling over and allowing his ministers to be lumbered with portfolios which are either irrelevant or unpopular he has consigned Lib Dems to a marginal position for the next 100 years. I voted Lib Dem, but I will not again because they have shown themselves to be worse than the Tories. At leaast the Tories have never made a secret of the fact that they hate public service.

Before you argue about economic factors meaning they had to do it, let me see them persuing Vodafone for their massive tax bill, these protestions may ring more true then.

Russ said...

Oh my spelling is bad, sorry!