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Thursday, September 01, 2005


This is a sequel to an early article here on Why I Quit the Lib Dems on 21st November last year. The short version is that I had put up a couple of motions, the main one on supporting economic growth by the Irish method of getting of the backs of business, & had both rejected by my local party. At the time remaining in the party appeared pointless - as I said at the time "if I can't be part of the solution I can at least stop being part of the problem".

Since then the SNP have come down pretty thoroughly for precisely this classic liberal policy & had I not been opposed to their basic policy of independence I would have joined them, indeed I had a letter in the Scotsman accusing them of being the most economically competent party in the UK.

I have now rejoined the party & I think you are entitled to know why. Following an email suggesting that the Lib Dems should not entirely give up the classic liberal laissez-faire position to the SNP a senior member of the party pointed out that Nicol Stephen, in his leadership manifesto had supported tax cutting, if in a non-specific way & that I should re-present my motion.

After some consideration I decided to rejoin (a different constituency) & try again. The reasons being:

There clearly has been some movement on this & I do think I can help.

I do believe in the party system - politics should not be a purely single issue groups in which the intent is merely to form a majority out of sufficient minorities - at their best such alliances of single issue groups are very susceptible giving the treasury keys to dubious lobbies so long as all the other lobbies get their piece of flesh (to be fair parties are subject to this too but to a lesser degree).

While I am by no means a perfect fit with the Lib Dems I am much closer than to any other party & perhaps equally importantly I am temperamentally much closer to the sort of slightly anarchistic jersy & sandal wearing types the party is to a large extent made up of. At election counts the Tories & Labour turn up in dark blue suits & the rest don't - I am a don't.

Politically I am definitely a believer in classic liberalism, which the party was founded on - ie free trade, individual enterprise, the rights of the individual rather than the state, generally keeping the state inoffensive by pruning, the right of the individual to live as they please & the rights of small nations & the rule of law both localy & internationaly. Beyond this I also believe in encouraging scientific progress including space travel & all that stuff (which was not a concern when the Liberals were founded) & a belief that our institutions should change as technology grows. Economically I could be a Tory but in terms of believing in progress & of social values I could not.

Unfortunately I rejoined to late for my Enterprise motion to go in for this Autumn conference. I have put in an amendment to a motion on prisons which I support but think could be tightened up & I have opinions on 2 other motions. For the main conference in the Spring I will re-present the Enterprise motion (for the 6th time) & we will see what happens.

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