In political argument, there is an unofficial rule that the first person to mention the Nazis automatically loses.
In the Liberal Democrats there should be an equivalent rule - that in any debate the first person to accuse a colleague of being a Tory loses.
Bob Russell MP tells us that ‘there is no need and no room for a third Tory party’ in British politics, implying that some in our party think otherwise.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in such things, but I try to take some interest in political debate within the party. I attend conference, subscribe to Liberator, CentreForum etc, and have read at least some of the Orange Book and Reinventing the State. Yet nowhere have I seen any Liberal Democrat argue that we should become a third (or even second) Tory party.
Perhaps Mr Russell has a grasp of political philosophy far more sophisticated and profound than my own. Yet I can’t help thinking that as we discuss how our Liberal principles should be best applied to current politics, it isn’t helpful if we resort to the cheap jibe of accusing colleagues with whom we disagree of being Tories.
The aim is to be distinctively Liberal, not any kind of Tory party.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Letter to Lib Dem News
For the first time in a while, this week I have a letter in Liberal Democrat News. In was a response to Bob Russell MP's comment to the effec that we don't need three Tory parties in British politics. This is what I wrote:
Posted by Iain Sharpe at 8:30 pm