On Being A Liberal Democrat 99


In my week without blogging, sorting out much personal detritus, I have been taking stock of the past and contemplating the future.

I have decided to rejoin the Liberal Democrats. I know that will disappoint some readers, but as I said after Norwich North, I was forced to conclude that it was impossible to make any worthwhile impact as an independent in British politics. No matter how good a candidate you are, and no matter how hard you and your supporters campaign, the combination of voter party loyalties and media exclusion are killing. Indeed, I find I get much more media exposure when I am not a candidate.

Politics is about the governance of society, and that entails people working together and collaborating their views. It is by definition a social pursuit, so to attempt to pursue it entirely alone to avoid compromising any of your opinions is not politics but futility. Why should I ever expect anybody to agree with me on absolutely every point? Probably nobody genuinely agrees with absolutely every word of the programme of any political party.

I was a member of the National Council of the Liberal Party when I was just sixteen years old. I was in student politics as a Liberal then a Lib Dem, and remained a party member right up until I stood against Jack Straw as an indpendent in Blackburn. I wanted to stand against Straw to highlight hs role in rendition and torture, and would have stood against him as a Lib Dem given the chance.

I am very sad that under Clegg the Lib Dems have not come out more strongly against the Afghan War and against replacing Trident. There is a disconnect here between the party leadership and the members. I spoke to a fringe meeting at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Dunfermline in November. We took a straw poll after my talk, and out of forty five only two were against immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan – which was less that the number of MPs and MSPs present.

I have never made any bones about my strong support for Scottish independence, and on this issue as well as on Trident and on Afghanistan it is my intention to try to influence Lib Dem policy. I am very attracted by the Lib Dem proposal of a £10,000 tax allowance, to be paid for by a tax on houses worth over £2 million and by raising the rate of Capital Gains Tax to equal the rate of income tax paid by the individual benefiting.

That is a far more radical and egalitarian proposal than anything New Labour have on offer, and would enormously benefit the less well off, make work more attractive against benefits and stimulate the domestic economy through consumer demand.

So I shall not be standing in the general election, but will be actively campaigning for the Lib Dems. That does not indicate any hostility at all towards the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru or Respect, all of whom I hope do well.


99 thoughts on “On Being A Liberal Democrat

1 2 3 4
  • Anonymous

    To quote you:’I am very sad that under Clegg the Lib Dems have not come out more strongly against the Afghan War and against replacing Trident.’

    In my opinion Clegg is cut from the same cloth as Blair and Cameron. I personally think that the problem with the left and right political system is that it frames the debate into an intellectually childish

    format. The lib Dems just fill the gap between the two and offer nothing new.

    As long as we align ourselves to a party and therefore are part of the machinery which legitamises the current system which is fundamentally corrupt and supports a social system which is inhumane we get what we deserve.

    I think running as an independent was an incredibly brave and testing thing which you did. It may have been a lonely depressing experience but you should be proud of yourself.

    I think joining the LibDems is a mistake , but I am sure that you have many good reasons for the decision, and that anywork you do for them will be from a very moral,intelligent and clear thinking perspective and when you change your mind and run as an independent again I’ll back you and go out of my way to help.

  • Titus

    To quote you:’I am very sad that under Clegg the Lib Dems have not come out more strongly against the Afghan War and against replacing Trident.’

    In my opinion Clegg is cut from the same cloth as Blair and Cameron. I personally think that the problem with the left and right political system is that it frames the debate into an intellectually childish

    format. The lib Dems just fill the gap between the two and offer nothing new.

    As long as we align ourselves to a party and therefore are part of the machinery which legitamises the current system which is fundamentally corrupt and supports a social system which is inhumane we get what we deserve.

    I think running as an independent was an incredibly brave and testing thing which you did. It may have been a lonely depressing experience but you should be proud of yourself.

    I think joining the LibDems is a mistake , but I am sure that you have many good reasons for the decision, and that anywork you do for them will be from a very moral,intelligent and clear thinking perspective and when you change your mind and run as an independent again I’ll back you and go out of my way to help.

  • David McCann

    Craig. Like Vronsky I wish you had come to Scotland and joined the SNP, whose policies I think most reflect your views. However since you live in England the LibDems may be your next best. At least LibDem peer Jamie Mar believes in Scottish Independence. But then again, we nationalists want to abolish the Lords!

    Good luck. I think you will need it!

  • mary

    Whilst I have little time for Clegg, I do think it is shocking that Bercow (Speaker) doesn’t shut up the background noise from the Tory boy and NuLabour clone rabble that goes on when Clegg speaks and which detracts greatly from his message.

  • Roderick Russell

    SABRETACH ?” As my own story shows, MI6 have gone far beyond legitimate intelligence gathering work to act as a secret police and bullyboy for the establishment. They have lost all right to anonymity, and their private connections to politicians are dangerous for democracy. In identifying some of these connections, you are operating in the public interest.

    The nature of the threat to democracy that these so-called intelligence services impose, is that they seem to be able to dominate our politicians. Have a look at my detailed comment titled “DO VALUES MATTER TO [Canada’s] PRIME MINISTER HARPER AT ALL?” that is just below this article on “rights and democracy” in MacLean’s ?” which is Canada’s top current affairs magazine. It says it all.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/22/rights-and-democracy-let-100-schools-of-thought-contend/

    Incidentally, you can see the smear go in immediately after my comment just as with a blog. Rather than try and ignore me, the paid help (CSIS ?” which is Canada’s MI5) are getting worried.

    Sabretach you are operating in the public interest in exposing some of these connections with politicians. Keep up the good work. What about MI5 and Canada’s CSIS, and what about their dangerous connections to the human rights industry and press?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Definitely, I agree. The hard state dominates and determines. They vet, and will destroy any politician who dares to challenge their authority.

    Jives, thanks, I’ve heard of Acoustic Butterfly; very interesting; I’ll check them/ you out on the web now!

  • Ruth

    ‘The hard state dominates and determines. They vet, and will destroy any politician who dares to challenge their authority.’

    Absolutely. They don’t jus’t use destruction. They manipulate indirectly. I’d put down many of the problems Craig faced in Norwich to their interference including the possibilty that votes for him were excluded/changed/substituted. There was time to do this between the closing of the polls in the evening to the unusual count in the morning. People like Craig are a very real threat to the hard state. I believe increasingly people with ties to the intelligence services are put in as candidates so total control of the political system is put into effect but the illusion of democracy is maintained.

  • Parky

    The LibDems can say what they like because they know that under the present first past the post system they will never have their hands on the levers of power.

    However if by some miracle the electorate came to their senses and decided to vote on the issues rather than party loyalty and put a LibDem govt in power, you can be sure that within a month or two, you would not be able to tell them apart from the LabCon rabble. Some miracle of transformation would occur and they would be good capitalist thinking puppets in the pockets of the banking establishment once more.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.