Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I'm a Lib Dem

Preparing to go to our party conference at the weekend I've been reading some of the motions for debate.  We are in interesting times as a party.  For many years in opposition we set our policies at conference safe in the knowledge that we were unlikely to be called upon to put them into action.  For the last few years there has been a gradual change towards setting policies which just possibly might be put into action in a coalition situation.  Last year that became reality.  We have a real chance to make a difference for all the people who voted for us.
Some things haven't worked out - the tuition fees debacle was nothing short of disastrous for the party.  The real improvements in the system have been lost in the public eye, drowned under the headline £9000.  But, many many other things have worked out - restoring the index linking of pensions which was resisted by both Labour and Tory for years; the pupil premium is helping schools to support disadvantaged pupils; low paid people are paying less income tax, many of them paying no income tax at all now; ID cards have been scrapped with all the intrusive data collection that went with them; the Green Investment Bank is on its way; Casino banking is being reined in.  The list goes on.
So why am I particularly feeling proud to be a Lib Dem as I head off to conference?  Because even with the pressures of being part of a governing coalition there are still motions designed to set policies which are right, not populist.  A policy to deal with the harm caused by drug abuse and dependency calls for evidence based medical, psychological and social services.  This doesn't mean just locking people up and forgetting about them - it means actually finding services that stop the harm.  That won't suit the "hang 'em and flog 'em" brigade but it makes me happy to be a Lib Dem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I voted Lib Dem for the first time at the last election. Here's why I will never vote Lib Dem again. Accepting the tory austerity package which has killed growth and impacted on everyone but the rich. Student fees making a specific promise to the young and breaking it in weeks. Scrapping building schools for the future and introducing the crap free schools progrmme. Inflation wiping out all the advantages you name on pensions and tax breaks. Underachieving on the green banks, and letting bankers off the hook. Supporting privatisation in the NHS.
Honestly don't think you have achieved anything but prop up the tories.