Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Why the LibDems?

A couple (here and here) of recent posts discuss why it is worth being part of the LibDems.

To add to this discussion I think I should add my point of view.

It's simple really. The Labour and Conservative parties have failed, failed and failed again. Wherever and whenever they get elected they may accidentally latch onto a good idea, but even then they can't help but mess it up.

Two examples: -

*racks brain to choose most appropriate Labour initiative*

The NHS was a great idea, but it's there to ensure a basic standard of universal primary health, not to provide additional services to selected groups. Prioritising the provision of other social services makes it unmanageable and unaffordable (secondary health is a private matter as far as I'm concerned). Meanwhile the Baby P affair demonstrates how the collective irresponsibility of state bureaucracy enabled different departments to neglect their principle duties to the person or patient and thereby allow individuals to fall through the gaps.

*racks brain to identify any major tory initiative*

Privatisation of national utilities was a necessary way to improve working practices and stimulate growth, but the sales were done too cheaply and in a way which meant service levels quickly became less important than profits. The 2009 train fare rises mirror those in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and look likely to continue until at least 2015. The legislative precedent they created also paved the way for the regulatory collapse which has forced the credit crunch.

To some extent both of these initiatives were Liberal ideas, and they may well have worked better/been less open to distortion had Liberals been responsible for their enactment.

Between them Labour and Conservative may make for progress of a sort, but the damage caused by continual overshoot and correction is lasting and tangible.

A stop-start society is disenchanting, disillusioning and discouraging; it is the cause of endless frustration and friction; it polarises relationships and it causes just as many problems during transition as it eventually solves.

For me, beyond any philosophic reasons, on purely practical grounds the LibDems are the only party vehicle which can deliver the stability, consistency and coherence for a positive future.

So if you believe that your participation can be of benefit in any small way, then we are the only real choice to get involved with. I do and I've seen how we make a massive difference to people's lives by changing a little bit of the world at a time.

And on a personal level I also find I enjoy the company of open-minded people far more - which you have to be to be one!

Y'see I'm a LibDem, and I'm lovin' it!

Disclaimer: Of course if your politics are merely an intellectual exercise non-mainstream parties also provide a necessary forum to help develop and channel your ideas until you feel ready to try putting them into action. Don't let me discourage you, everyone needs all the help we can get.


Charlotte Gore said...

I think that's a pretty nice argument, although I do worry about the automatic assumption that we might be better. On what grounds? What's your evidence?

I ask because one of the phenomenon I experience when working with the local lib dem council group was that they believed if they were in charge they'd be better than the others by default because the others were just 'idiots'. I got quite disillusion by this. I don't think 'cos we're obviously better' is a good enough reason to justify taking over control of a council!

Oranjepan said...

Hello Charlotte, nice to see you here.

I'm not quite assuming that we are better - I'm doing the reverse, providing evidence in order to conclude that the others are worse.

I also have some serious misgivings about fellow members who jump to conclusions (I've also seen some of of this). If we are a party which believes in due process then we better had go about joining the dots.

However, time and manpower is a limitation on effective communication, so I tend to give them a bit of leeway and take this as my prompt to be vocal and augment their statements by filling in the gaps as best I can in a way which reconciles what they said with what I'd hope they wanted to say. If they don't like it they are forced to clarify, but if they do we've shown a bit more.

The biggest thing I've learnt in my time as a 'demmer to try to control the tone of my voice when I do. It's amazing what difference this can make. In the same way comments online can sound very different if you put a different voice to them!