I have received this letter from the party. It appears, in the imperishable words of David Coleman, that I have "won everything but the game". There is not even a token attempt to disagree with my points, that I had done nothing against the party, expressed no views which were not traditional liberal ones & that it is expressing liberal views alone which is unacceptable within the "Lib Dems". The point I made earlier about the current party managers jacking up the name "Liberal" & sliding a new vehicle underneath appears indisputable & undisputed.
The Executive Committee considered your response to the paper on which the
decision to proceed to implementing the required procedures to expel you
from membership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was based.
However they were also extremely concerned that, despite the paper being
made available to you on a confidential basis and your agreeing to
maintain confidentiality, your response was sent to senior politicians of
other political parties thus breaching that confidentiality.
The Executive took the view that by doing this you had brought the party
into dispute. It is on this basis that I was instructed by the Executive
with no votes against and one abstention to conduct a secret postal ballot
of all Executive Committee members as to whether or not you should be
The outcome of the ballot will be known on 22nd April, the next Executive
Committee meeting, when the vote will be counted.
Your suspension from membership remains in force until that date.
At this rate the Appeals Tribunal will be sitting sometime around July when my annual membership runs out. I have replied:
I confirm receipt of your email. I would like to make 3 points.
1) It is not true that, as a condition of seeing the charges against me, I agreed to keep the charge document against me secret. You did make a request, but not prior to receipt, that I do so & I have not published that document. I did say in reply to this:
"I confirm that, while I would prefer to be open about this, I will adhere to your request that the executive's document about me remain confidential........ My response will naturally, in light of my insistence on clearing my name of the allegation of being "illiberal", be public."
Nobody raised any objection to this whatsoever.
Only my response has been published. It is untrue to suggest that I have published any confidential party document, indeed not doing so has inconvenienced my defence. Even when quoting from it I went to some lengths to ensure that this was from the section which was directly quoting my blog - clearly quoting the quotes of what I had said in my blog in my blog may be incest but is not breaching any right to confidentiality.
I did this as a matter of courtesy despite this request being clearly inconsistent with the principle of open justice being done & being seen to be done (something which I would consider a liberal principle).
2) I would like to point out that your initial letter to me of 12th Dec said:
"That was to suspend you from the rights & privileges of membership for a maximum of three months from receipt of this letter while the question of termination of your membership is under consideration."
A maximum of 3 months from that the meeting is 4th March, 3 months from your letter is 12th March. The Executive is in breach of its own rules & does not have the authority to decide that my suspension "remain in force" beyond that. This is not the apartheid regime of South Africa (who would intern people for 3 months & on their release immediately re-intern them for a further 3). As of 12th March I am again a paid up member entitled to the rights of membership.
3) The only remaining reason for my proposed expulsion is that I have openly objected to my proposed expulusion on unsustainable & untrue charges. The entire initial case against me is not being pursued. If this mess has brought the party into disrepute it is not I who have done it. For the Executive to say that stating their case is bringing the party into disrepute is itself an implicit confirmation that the Executive believe they have acted disreputably.
I did not seek this, I did not start it & I have a perfect right to defend myself from allegations which even their proposers now refuse to defend.
I therefore have the right to a formal finding that the claims that I am "illiberal", that I have written letters to the papers that are "inconsistent with party membership", that I have repeatedly announced my party membership in letters to the papers, that in objecting to the beheading of children I have shown any moral lapse, that in pointing out that Mr Ashdown perjured himself in the Milosevic "trial" & that part of his administration in Bosnia have breached the law to assist in child sex slavery, I have been acting outwith the interests of justice & generally that in supporting traditional liberal principles regarding economic growth, economically competitive power manufacturing & freedom from government regulation I have been in any way whatsoever "illiberal" are not supportable & are withdrawn. Perhaps an apology would be appropriate.
Since the vote against me was not secret it would also be appropriate to know who was present & who the abstainer was & I so request.
PS Since we have already established that Mr Fraser's claim that I had announced my party membership in letters to the papers represents his highest standard of honesty did he present the requested evidence that this was in any way true?