Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Conscience and Reform: The Liberal Democrat Agenda for Britain

I know that Charles Kennedy made the Conscience and Reform: The Liberal Democrat Agenda for Britain speech back in July but being lazy I only got round to reading it today and there were two quotes which I picked out and think should be repeated to the Parliamentary Party again especially since after a “calm and thoughtful meeting” to promise to stop briefing against Charles Kennedy articles appeared on the BBC website and in today’s Guardian and Independent that “senior” Liberal Democrats parliamentarians want Charles to resign.

During the Conscience and Reform: The Liberal Democrat Agenda for Britain Charles said “we are at our best and we do our best when we are positive and united”. So please unite behind our leader and get behind what we are currently doing. If you are pissed off about the way he is leading the party make your thoughts know in private to him or the chief whip but please don’t go and repeat what was said at a meeting to journalists this makes us look negative and split. This is what has prevented the Tories from getting back into power since 1997 and this is to some extent what cost them the 1997 GE. Our positive and united approach to politics is what makes us popular with the non-partisan electorate. Is this electoral base one which we want to loose when the two leading parties in British politics have for sometime united or will for sometime unite behind a new leader soon. This could cost us massively in the local elections coming up in the spring. I know that some MPs don’t care about doing well in local elections now that they have a seat at the Palace but those of us with an ambition to get their or to send more colleagues would like to do well at local elections so that we can build teams for the next GE whether it be in 2008, 2009 or 2010.

During the same speech Charles also said “we have to be bold and to be willing to take risks. There is no way forward if we opt for the easy life, heads kept securely safe below the parapet. If we're not prepared to live a little dangerously at times, then the far greater danger is that we just don't live at all”. So looking to the future I ask that our MPs, Peers, MEPs, Councillors and activists across the country to not fear coming up with bold, radical and unusual ideas for Britain’s Constitution, for Development, for Science and Technology, for Local Government, for the Environment, for Pensions, for Education, for the future of Europe, for Britain’s Foreign Affairs, for our Health services, for Transport in Britain because if we stick with our Liberal principles then our voters will stick with us for being principled and others will turn to us for being principled. Sticking to our liberal principles is the only way we will create a society, a country and a world we are pleased and comfortable with. We should change or policies because they don’t play well with focus groups, opinion polls or the electorate because if our policies aren’t ones which people disagree with we should explain to them why we have these policies and allow them to disagree with them. That’s the way we will gain the respect of the electorate.

On a final note for anyone who thinks that’s should be a isolationist and just concentrate on the problems, troubles and issues within our borders I’d like to reiterate what Charles said Charles said “Britain's prosperity and security is now inextricably bound up with events beyond these shores, events that we will struggle to control in isolation as a nation state”. If we want prosperity and security in our own homes then we must as a nation engage with international organisations such as the European Union, the G8, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, NATO etc. A lot of these organisations are not perfect but the only way that will change is if we are at the heart and trying to lead it. We must also look to see how we can help in international conflicts such as Dafur, the Middle East, in an integrated world where our cultures and economies depend on each other so much others conflicts can so easily become our problems and threaten our own peace and prosperity at home.


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