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Tuesday, January 17, 2006


To the Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

I note that, despite our correspondence & my request, you have not produced any examples of my alleged "illiberal" comments, though you had asked for my defence to be produced today. In the circumstances since obviously there is no case to answer I think we may now consider the matter ended. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contacted you to ask that you state my specific alleged offence before finding me guilty of it.

While this has not been a comfortable event it may turn out to have been useful in clarifying ideas. I was interested to see that on Sunday AM Menzies Campbell stressed the need for adhering to classic principles of the last 100 years (I would have said 200). It is important that political groupings do not forget their roots The values they held to when they grew to the height of their popularity are likely to be good ones. While times & technologies do change & the individual can do things in the era of the internet & space tourism which were not possible in the days of the stagecoach, modern policies should be built on proven roots. Neither the leaders of the Labour or Tory parties appear to retain any link to their roots & if we understand liberalism that is all to the good.

In that spirit I ask you to circulate this statement, including the following extract from my previous correspondence, within the party executive & to those who have enquired.

"I have written in favour of nuclear power, of growing our economy by the methods recommended by Adam Smith & against illegal war & the censorship of the mass grave of 210 bodies at Dragodan created by our KLA allies during the period of & within the UK occupation zone, but I dispute that any of this can properly be described as "illiberal" - quite the opposite..........

I wish to quote from Mr Kennedy's resignation speech, since it shows understanding the party will dearly need in the future:

"there is a genuine debate going on within this party -
somewhat crudely caricatured at times as being in rather redundant terms as between left and right; in rather simplistic terms as between social liberals and economic liberals; in rather misleading terms as between traditionalists and modernisers.

I have never accepted that these are irreconcilable instincts - indeed, quite the opposite.
And I believe that unity remains fundamental to our further advance and success.

It should be a debate driven by ourselves.

It must not be allowed to become dictated by others who do not share our long-term hopes and goals.

We must stand and argue - politically independent and intellectually self-confident.

And it must be based on time-honoured, sound philosophic liberal principles - principles which have stood the test of generations and remain not just as relevant to but even more essential in British politics today.

The leadership personalities change from time to time in politics, but principles should not. Civil liberties; justice and rule of international law;"

If we accept that free trade & the principles of Adam Smith also form part of these time honoured principles along with the already mentioned respect for international law then it must be obvious that I have been in no way "illiberal" & I do not think that anybody who knows history could dispute that. Everything I have written has been according to liberal principles & I stand by them.

I firmly believe that it is in the interest of the party to stand for liberal values & particularly for the individual against the state (nanny or otherwise). The other 2 parties are fighting, like WW1 generals, over every nuance of ground of the statist wing of the "left right dispute" - we should stand for the individual not the state & when that means, as it will, that some policies can be portrayed as "left" & some as "right" we should not let ourselves be drawn into that outdated political morass."

Yours Sincerely
Neil Craig

PS Since the concept of a graphic depiction of views on both a left/right & individual/state basis rather than the linear left/right depiction is not widely understood may I recommend the website where anybody can assess their political position. There are several such sites but this appears to be the original. You may be surprised to learn (I was & a little disappointed) that I registered an excessively moderate 0 on the left/right scale & 1 towards the individualist side of the state/individual scale.

To which I received this somewhat surprising reply which indicates that they still refuse to say whatI have done.

Dear Mr. Craig,

Thank you for your E-mail received today.

After the E-mail I sent to you with the relevant section of the Party's
constitution I discussed with the Convener of the Party your request for
further information.

Her view was that I should not send you anything further. You had been
informed of the decision taken at the Executive, been given a copy of the
constitution and been told that the grounds for your expulsion were
"postings on your web site and letters to the press regarded as illiberal
and irreconcilable with membership of the Party." This was all the
information the constitution required you to be given other than the
opportunity of making a written submission as to why the Executive should
not proceed with expulsion.

I am presuming that the E-mail received from you to date is that

There is no opportunity within the constitution for you to appear before
the Executive personally. The opportunity for you to appear personally
will only arise if the Executive expels you from membership and you lodge
an appeal with the Party's Appeals Tribunal.

Yours sincerely,
In an example of serendipity which I wouldn't believe if it was in a story I have just received this email from Norman Fraser, the person who proposed my expulsion!



Well... He is off his head I think. I do not think that this will improve his chances of retaining his membership much.

Thanks for forwarding this. I have asked Helen for a time for Saturday and will get back to you when she replies.



Perhaps so Norman but at least I am able to send my emails to the right address.

'Her view was that I should not send you anything further'

how illiberal, well spineless really.

She may as well have said 'so sorry to let you go old chap, no hard feelings but I cant tell you what you did. That would be letting the cat out of the political bag.'

I think you should start your own real liberal party,at least one that lives up to the name 'liberal'.
This "Executive" committee sounds more like a star chamber to me - more the way you'd expect the Labour Party to carry on than a party calling themselves Liberal Democrats. Have you tried writing to the various leadership candidates to draw attention to the way you're being treated? I don't know if it'll do any good, but it can't do any harm either - obviously someone's got it in for you. Don't let them grind you down anyway, even if they kick you out it only proves that they didn't deserve your support in the first place.
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