Friday, March 10, 2006
ON COUNCILLOR WALKER
On basic political philosophies we are not all that close. He is by instinct an environmentalist (he is part pf the volunteer group cleaning up the river Kelvin & has recently installed his own solar heating), whereas I am by instinct a hi-tech space going groupie. I put economic growth at top of my agenda & he merely accepts it is important. On the other hand he has possibly even less time for political correctness than me & being an accountant, understands that government can't just get away with political posturing, you have to get the numbers right.
We first met shortly before the Glasgow North candidate selection meeting. At that meeting I was impressed by the way he unwisely said that it would be wrong & possibly counterproductive to give the health service more money without fixing the managerial systems. This is true but, at least before that audience, was a bit like saying mother's apple pie could be improved. He wasn't selected. Subsequently the Bearsden constituency decided to shortlist their 7 candidates 6 people made the shortlist, he didn't.
On purely vote gathering abilities alone any serious party should value him. I am more impressed by his understanding of issues & his willingness to say what he believes (even when, as in things like cars, I largely disagree). He has been a regular letter writer in the Scotsman & Herald & has generally had a pretty high media profile. One of those things is his support for nuclear power though more because he recognises the real alternative to be blackouts than with the enthusiasm I have.
It had become quite clear that he is not one of the party's blue eyed boys, most of whom, in the interests of gender balance, are girls.
Nonetheless it came as a great surprise to me when he told me on Wednesday that he had quit the Lib Dems & is now an independent. I don't know what his future intent is but I think it would be a great loss to Scotland if he were to be driven out of politics. For the Lib Dems to let him go is an own goal of spectacular proportions. It also means that, together with my expulsion, Hillhead constituency party, numerically Glasgow's largest, has been rendered almost inactive
Even had he been shortlisted for Bearsden his chances of winning the seat against established local contenders would have been approximately zero.
Likewise at Glasgow North, he was up against two well established candidates who were always more likely to be succesful in that contest.
In any internal political party elections there's a lot more at play than simply outlining the qualities that you indicate you admire in Niall. I suspect he might not want to play that game. However, if you don't play the game then you can't win it!
A dangerous radical eh? For the Lib Dems anyway.
"Nonetheless it came as a great surprise to me when he told me on Wednesday that he had quit the Lib Dems & is now an independent....I think it would be a great loss to Scotland if he were to be driven out of politics. For the Lib Dems to let him go is an own goal of spectacular proportions. It also means that, together with my expulsion, Hillhead constituency party, numerically Glasgow's largest, has been rendered almost inactive"
Mr Craig I have followed your expulsion saga with much interest, but I can't help but feel the words 'penny' and 'dropped' should be forming in your mind about this whole thing. Indeed I am slightly surprised you haven't quit of your own accord, I mean lets face it, the Liberal Democrats are more Social Democrats than Liberals one, and are really just a nicer version of the Labour Party.
As someone who also has liberal views I would never join the Lib Dems simply because they are clearly not liberal in the way I understand the word (primacy of liberty as political value, freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on the power of government and religion, respect for rule of law, free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports private enterprise, transparent government). The Lib Dems are essentially a socialist party that believes in strong government and state intervention. Really not very liberal at all.
Equally, there is nothing inherently liberal in "a market economy that supports private enterprise" if you interpret that as allowing business to operate in an unregulated manner without consideration of any impact on wider society.
Notwithstanding that you are stating policy outcomes as principle, you appear to be adopting what would better be described as a libertarian view which is common amongst many on the right, but which tends to define freedom in a way that allows businesses (rather than individuals) to have a free hand and hang the consequences.
On that premise, I'm so pleased you would never join the Liberal Democrats. You'd be extremely lonely.