Tuesday, 24 April 2012

For the avoidance of doubt

My inactivity in the local election campaign has drawn questions from friends and activists in all parties regarding my current political status, which I’d like to clarify.

Since the Coalition was formed in 2010, the Liberal Democrats have very little to show for their involvement. On every substantive measure like welfare reform, university tuition fees, public spending, social justi
ce and constitutional reform Nick Clegg has failed to deliver liberalism in government.

Political parties are traditionally ‘broad churches’ and have some room for dissenting voices. To that end, friends persuaded me to renew my party membership last year to lobby from within. However, the lack of challenge to the leadership, and the slavish adherence to the party line, especially by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has been disappointing.

Coalitions should be a coming together of political parties in the common interest of the country to form a stable government. That invariably involves compromise, but such compromises should never require one or other party to set aside the principles that underline the very reason that they exist.

Through their actions in Government, Liberal Democrat ministers have betrayed the core principles on which the Liberal Democrats is supposed to be founded. They have proved to be Tory stooges rather than equal partners. The voice of liberalism has been stifled, if not silenced, by a programme of government that is actively undermining communities, promoting poverty and making UK society more unjust.

All they have to show for it is three seats at the Cabinet Table to lend support to a right wing Conservative Government. Liberal Democrat voters and the social liberals who have campaigned hard for liberal principles and values have been short-changed.

I am first and foremost a liberal, and this transcends any loyalty or allegiance to one political party or another. My liberal leanings make it near impossible for me to do anything other than criticise the actions of this Government.

Whilst my commitment to campaigning as a liberal on the local and national issues that I feel strongly about remains solid, I can no longer do this as a Liberal Democrat. Consequently, I’m no longer a member of the party.

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