Why some of the ‘wets’ in the Lib Dems need to grow a backbone

December 23, 2010 § 3 Comments

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

This has been a tough old week for my party, no doubt about it, but to read some of the comments of fellow members of the party you’d think it was on the precipice of complete destruction.

There’s been suggestions that we need to be pulling out of the Coalition now, today, this instant.

Talk that we’ve done our bit, but we’ve had the frightners put on us and must exit-stage left-as soon as possible.

Some local activists/councillors believe that we must exit Government to ensure they have a chance to win/retain their seats.

What kind of selfish clap-trap is that?

Let me ask, how on earth would Lib Dems at a national level wilting at the first sign of pressure help local activists to convince their potential electorates that the party is capable of running anything other than perhaps a flower stall?

I recently became a local candidate for the party and I acknowledge that some of what is going on at Westminster isn’t always helpful, but If I don’t win you won’t find me blaming Nick Clegg or Vince Cable.

We, as local campaigners, activists and candidates, need to be taking the fight out on the doorsteps, talking to people, telling them about the good things Lib Dems are doing both locally and nationally.

That’s certainly what me and my colleagues will be doing in my patch of Barwell and Hinckley and Bosworth.

We’ve seen time and again that good, positive, local campaigners-with a progressive policy agenda for their area-can win elections regardless of the standing of their party nationally.

I deplored Margaret Thatcher’s administration; her and her Government decimated whole communities and seemed not to care.

But on one thing, we Lib Dems can learn from her:

She put the ‘wets’ in their place, told them to grow a bit of backbone and stiffened them up (so to speak) for the task ahead of them.

We too need our ‘wets’ to find a bit of resolve, a bit of backbone, a bit of belief in the good Lib Dem Ministers and Secretaries of State are doing in Government.

If we pulled out of the Coalition now, we may never be trusted with a place in Government again.

I have to ask my fellow Lib Dems: are we a pressure group or are we a political party?

If we’re a pressure group we should stop standing for election and just concentrate on lobbying.

If, however, as I believe, we’re a political party then we should stop this internal navel gazing and get on with the job our electorate want us to do.

To make us free, fair and green.

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