Thursday, February 16, 2006
PURGING LIBERALS FROM THE LIB DEMS - MY STATEMENT - I OF IV
Cynical though I had been about whether this enquiry was, or was ever intended to be, in any way impartial or of integrity I was taken aback to find that the party executive could unanimously support this accusation on the basis of absolutely no evidence. This confirms my suspicion that my sole fault has been to support a fairly traditional liberal position, on laissez faire economics, individual freedom, national freedom, the rule of international law & technological progress at a time when the party is being run, at least within Scotland, by people who are intent on jacking up the name "Liberal" & slipping an entirely different vehicle underneath.
Further than this I submit that the new vehicle is one which they believe cannot be sustained in open debate. Hence the refusal of debate at conference etc. In this they are quite correct. That is why the opposition to my position has not been by debate but by compulsion.
Liberalism, the original sort, is sweeping the world because it offers freedom, wealth & a decent society people can be proud of & that is what the overwhelming majority of citizens want. Economic decline, windmills, dependency culture & visiting government busybodies telling them they can't smoke in their own homes is no substitute.
Nonetheless I am forced to defend my letters against the accusation that they (all?) are "illiberal". In reverse order from the date of the accusation - all items are on my blog archives:
On 29th November I had a letter in the Herald, a few days earlier in the Scotsman, also on the 24th (Scotsman), 22nd spoke on Radio Scotland against Alex Salmond, 3rd Nov (Scotsman) & 22nd July (West End Mail) all supporting nuclear power. I am aware that the official party policy is that we should support the closure of Hunterston & Torness & of the high emission coal generators leading to the loss of 2/3rds of our electricity. We would then rely on windmills (or unspecifiable methods) which currently supply under 2%, unreliably, to make up the shortfall. However I submit that the question of whether party leaders can guarantee that there will be no shortfall is not a question of principle but of engineering. My position that we should seek to halt the current death, by fuel poverty, of 24,000 pensioners a year, by producing affordable electricity, is much more liberal, not to say humane, than that of the leadership. Former executive member Steuart Campbell felt forced to resign from the party over nuclear policy but that is not quite the same as expulsion.
On 17th November (Herald) I wrote against the planning system preventing houses being built taking as an example knocking down particularly well built brand new houses because they did not fit council plans. This is in line with my housing motion, which unfortunately, the party has not been allowed to debate. I made no specific mention of the Lib Dem position. I submit that the idea that the state should not massively artificially limit homebuilding is classic liberalism.
On 17th September (Herald) I wrote very strongly in favour of the proposed reduction in business rates saying "it is particularly remarkable since it was Jack McConnell, in his previous post, who was responsible for increasing rates in the
first place. While the doctrine of collective cabinet responsibility prevents us knowing for sure, it seems likely that the accession of Nicol Stephen, who, while running for Lib Dem leader, pledged support for business tax cuts, may have played a part in this" & then going on to call for a corporation tax reduction.
Present events, including the refusal to allow Enterprise to be discussed at Conference & that allowed motions are would increase regulation, taxes, government spending enormously & prevent the introduction of modern technology make it less likely that the leadership actually sincerely supported pro-growth policies as anything other than a reaction to the SNP's more thorough adoption of the Irish example. That would suggest that the proposed future rate cut back to the level we started at is merely token.
The letter was intended to draw attention to what I consider to be a news item favourable to the party & whether it was correct or not I still believe it to be favourable.
On 15th September (Herald) I wrote that the New Orleans hurricane should not be blamed on global warming. What the Lib Dem position on this is I don't know but this is the scientific "consensus". On September 3rd I wrote in the Scotsman that Ireland's growth was due to free market policies not to EU cash, pointing out that the EU money went mainly to agriculture, the slowest growing part of their economy. This is classic liberalism - it is also correct.
On 22nd August (Scotsman) I wrote congratulating Hollyrood Speaker George Reid on persuading the Executive to look at how other countries achieve economic growth. I suggested looking at examples outside the EU as well as within - I dispute that this was "illiberal".
On 1st August a letter I had sent to the entire British national & much of the US press was published by the Morning Star alone (what Mr Fraser would call a "right wing" newspaper). This was about Nasir Oric, the Moslem commander of Srebrenica responsible for the genocide of at least 3,800 Serb civilians, who showed journalist videos of him beheading men, women & children (as reported by the Toronto Star & Washington Post). Supporting evidence was given on oath by General Marillon, the ranking NATO general in Bosnia at the time. I suggested that this person should have been charged over this genocide. Under the benevolent rule of Mr Ashdown he returned to civilian life as the owner of what is, I suspect euphemistically, called a "night club".
I dispute absolutely & without possibility of compromise that to be opposed to the deliberate beheading of children on a racial basis is "illiberal". I suggest that the only political movement which could support such obscenity is a Nazi one.