Sunday, 11 September 2011

Greg Mulholland and the Dorries amendment.

In the aftermath of the Dorries Amendment last week there were many stunned Lib Dems who looked down the Hansrad list and saw Liberal Democrat's who had voted for it.

One such name was Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West. How could a Liberal Democrat vote for such Illiberal policy? Surely it would be naturally abhorrent to any Liberal? These "Liberals" are the enemy of all we stand for right?

I'm not so certain. Firstly, I don't agree with Dorries, I believe that a woman should be allowed to decide what she wants to do with her body and should be free to decide either way without being forced into termination OR keeping a pregnancy. My main problem with this whole episode was the way she delivered the whole speech and the way she attacked those who were offering up constructive counter arguments and didn't even listen to co-sponsor Frank Field and plowed on regardless.

Right now that's out the way lets address the Illiberal Liberals. I was under the impression that Liberalism allowed for us to accept that others have a different view to our own and that we should be open to debate? Should we not accept that Greg Mulholland has a different vantage point over abortion, disagree if we do, but ultimately respect that?

But his point of view threatens the freedom of choice by the mother and her freedom of action.

What of the freedom of action and of life of the unborn child? (I'm playing Devil's advocate, my belief's on abortion are a little misty as it is something I've not really had to think about in my life since school until now.)

It could be argued that you cannot make a balanced decision until you have received arguments from BOTH sides of the pro life debate.

Another point is that the Dorries Amendment was not a whipped vote. Nor was it a party political vote. It was a vote based on the MP's conscience and beliefs. Are we going to pillory a man who has beliefs contrary to our own just because they are contrary? If anything we should be admiring a man with beliefs who is standing to be counted by them and not worrying about the consequences. I admire soldiers of the Wehrmacht who struggled to defend Berlin, not because they were Nazi's but because they stood by their beliefs and fought.

Greg Mulholland is an asset to the party and especially in parliament. I watched his impassioned speech before the Tuition fee vote intently as he argued for fellow Lib Dems not to be sucked into the Coalition's plan and to stand by their pledge as he did. He wrote in the Mirror on the same lines.

He also convened the Lib Dem Back bench Group back in February this year to help put across the new back bench as it were to party leadership and for them to stand united stating;

"We look forward to working constructively with Ministers and the Liberal Democrat leadership to make the government programme as positive as possible in these difficult times, as well as bringing a distinctively Liberal Democrat perspective to some debates"

Clearly marking that sometimes it seemed as if a LibDem voice was being lost. If you follow him, as I do, on Twitter you'll notice that his tweets are all about his constituency and the work he does for it. His entry on shows his local involvement and states that he is first and foremost a local MP, not a party MP. His hard work for the people of Leeds should be commended as should his voting record. He stood firm against Tuition fees, he also voted against the NHS reform. Should we be so quick to wash our hands of him over a difference of opinion?

I don't think so. I foresee a great future in the party for him.

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