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:

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.


Tristan said...

Here here.

(Speaking as one who was accused of being an evil Tory by one of our MPs for suggesting that mercantalism doesn't work at a local level just as it doesn't on a national or global level...)

The Tories may have some liberals and libertarians who we can work with, but the roots of that seem to be more anti-socialism rather than individualism.

mhuntbach said...

Could we also have a rule against anyone who describes a colleague as "socialist" or "wanting to go back to the 1970s" or any of the other tender terms the gung-ho free-marketeers in this party throw at those who express scepticicism at their simplistic ideals?