Sunday, 23 September 2012

Liberal Democrat DNA

Mark Pack addresses the question: "What should the Liberal Democrats focus on in the next year?" His assertion that "Only rarely does it make sense for a political party to concentrate on something other than what the public says is the most important issue facing them and their families. Now is not one of those exceptions, so it is the economy that should top the list for Liberal Democrats over the next year" would not seriously be disputed by any mainstream politician.

Indeed, the same thinking will surely dominate both Conservatives and Labour in the months to come. There will be variations in the public stance taken by all the major parties, but not many differences in the basic approach.

A more interesting question is: "What distinguishes the Liberal Democrats?" (or its cruder version "what are the LibDems for?"). For me, today's (Sunday's) agenda highlights what makes the party distinctive. To be sure, other parties will have debates on Aviation, International Cooperation and the Environment (though probably not as a single subject), Good Food and on Medically Assisted Dying.

However, no other party would consider "Empowering the IPCC [the police complaints body]", "Equal Citizenship – Supporting Independence for Sick" and Monday morning's "Mutuals, Employee Ownership, and Workplace Democracy", all to do with civil liberties and empowering the individual and communities.

But the supreme example was the presentation by Citizens UK celebrating Liberal Democrat success in ending the policy of separating and locking up the children of refugees. It was a joyous occasion of which I trust a video will be put up on one of the party web-site.

Later: there is a photo here. I'm still looking for the video.

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