Sunday, November 25, 2007

Protecting our Freedoms from whatever threat emerges, foreign and domestic. If not us, who else? 

One unambiguous good from the current leadership discussion is that the party is discovering it quite likes Liberalism.

And the potential leaderships are discovering that party supporters will back Liberal positions.

Maybe this means the end of clenched buttocks on green benches as Parliamentarians tiptoe around issues of freedom. No more constipation as shown by our home office team in the last General Election period. (Ah if only Simon Hughes had still been our shadow home secretary then…)

I look back at the high spot for me in the 2005 campaign, our adoption meeting in Milton Keynes where Lord Dholakia raised the roof with an impassioned statement on protecting our freedoms. I know we recruited and mobilised key new activists (including potential councillors) just on the basis of the power of that speech.This link shows what I said then, and you can see my hopes.But despite the superb manifesto commitment (page 8 if you still have it to hand) nothing else in the campaign, not in our national literature actually going through doors, not in the Leadership statements from any source, approached the power and clarity of that moment with Navnit .I am not saying it would (necessarily) have swung us masses of seats, but if we had put out a national message of that power nobody could ever again ask what the Liberal Democrats are ‘for’. A key part of the answer would be clear and spoken heart to heart. Protecting our Freedoms from whatever threat emerges, foreign and domestic. If not us, who else?

Whoever wins this leadership play-off I think we will go into the next election with a fiery statement on values and freedom (and not a complex examination of a tax package … oh lord our 2005 campaign priorities…)

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