September 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
I LOVE our party and am very proud to represent it at a local level.
I’m proud of our unique belief both in personal liberty and freedom and in the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
We do believe that there is such a thing as Society.
I’m equally proud of our record on things such as equality policy, both between men and women and for people in the LGBT community.
Though there is much further to go on that agenda, not least in seeking genuine equality: same-sex marriage, the opportunity for straight people to have a civil ceremony and the ongoing battle for equal pay for women and for fairer representation.
I pay tribute to the work of LGBT Lib Dems (Delga) and to that of the brilliant Equalities Minister, Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone.
But I sometimes feel that some Lib Dems at the top of our party are almost a bit embarrassed by it…as if the membership is treated like a relative no one wants to speak to at a Christmas get-together.
They seem to function almost despite the party, not because of it.
This should never be the case.
Many of us joined the Liberal Democrats, having previously been members of other parties, precisely because we never felt at home anywhere else and we’re proud of the mix of personal and social liberalism our party (and only our party) espouses.
I’m reminded of the phrase used by our Fantastic President Tim Farron a year or so back, “We are Britain’s last remaining political party…up against two utterly soul-less marketing operations.”
Despite us now being in Coalition with one of those, I still think that Tim is right.
We should be proud that we have strong internal debate in our party…yes, that sometimes we inflict defeat on our party leadership at Conference time (I’ve no doubt it’ll probably happen at some point in Birmingham later this month) and more often than not the collective wisdom of our membership is correct, but equally we campaign harder and better than any other political party.
The old adage is, most of the time, right: Where we Work, we Win.
So, as Tim said in his Spring Conference speech earlier this year (which I didn’t see in person but have since seen on YouTube) it’s time for us to stop apologising.
We should never be sorry or embarrassed to be Liberal Democrats.
We can be sorry for some of the tough decisions we’re having to make in Government because of the legacy left to us by the last, disastrous Labour Government.
But we must never be anything other than proud of our beloved party and the overwhelmingly positive and progressive difference it is making in Government.
I’m proud to be Liberal Democrat and I always will be.