National and Local politics from a Liberal Democrat from Gillingham, Kent
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
The Shadow of Dr Evan Harris.
Amid the clashing of sabres and the heated arguments that resounded through the House of Commons today one name was thrown around a lot, a spectre of the past that, according to Nadine Dorries, controls the party politics and the direction of the Liberal Democrat party. A spectre so powerful that even after losing his seat in last year's general election continues to hold sway over Nick Clegg and even David Cameron using bully tactics and blackmail to enforce his beliefs and whims. His name is Dr Evan Harris.
Evan Harris, the former MP for Abingdon and Oxford West has always had strong secular views and has worked for pro-choice and open debate on assisted suicides - earning him the well known nickname, which out of respect for Dr Harris, I will not repeat here as it is indeed awful to compare a man with firm political and secular beliefs with a well known SS Surgeon who experimented on the vulnerable etc. These are difficult subjects, ones that take a lot of moral fibre to discuss with complex debate and they need to be had.
Since he lost his seat in 2010 Evan has been working hard and is very prominent on the Social Lib Dem forum, a place where left leaning LibDems go to discuss policy, voice concerns and opinions. He is also one of the vice chairs for creating Federal Lib Dem policy. He has indeed had issue with coalition policy, as have we all at times and is one of the key movers and shakers talking about the NHS reform and the Dorries amendment. He has been vocal, on Twitter and other mediums about his views and ideas - but what is wrong with that? I've spoken with Evan through the medium of Twitter and joined the Social liberal Forum because I believe in the work they are doing and what they believe. I've always found Evan to be intelligent and calm with his tweets - Nor does he try to brain wash, rather reason and produce evidence.
Part of Liberalism and indeed politics is about having views, voicing opinions and getting the opposition to account for their ideas and statements rather than just letting them off the hook. Evan is also well placed to voice the views and opinions on the Social Liberal Forum along with Tim Farron, with the Party leadership in private and at conference, which again is a good thing isn't it?
However to suggest that Evan is a devious mastermind who has blackmailed Nick Clegg and David Cameron into doing HIS bidding is preposterous! As he is not an MP, nor have any specific power how can he enforce his will upon them? Didn't Dorries accuse Nick Clegg of talking the Prime Minister into backing down on Tuesday? Didn't she also say that the Lib Dems were too much of an influence on parliament too? It seems to outrageous to claim that Evan Harris is controlling the party like some twisted puppet master, he is but one voice - one voice in many. It was also unfair of another member to accuse Dr Julian Huppert of being ;
"Evan Harris' vicar on Earth"
Afterall Dr Huppert was merely stating an opposing view to Dorries that she didn't agree with that coincided with Evan's arguments. Dr Julian Huppert is a educated grown man capable of making up his own mind and deciding what he believes in, so why make it seem like he is Evan's mouth piece?
It was an unfair and unfounded comment by Nadine Dorries. Dr Harris is doing what anyone with a strong interest and belief in politics does, voice his opinion and argue rationally to support it. He is not some kind of evil Sith lord controlling parliament from a bunker in Abingdon with a roller rack of files with which to black mail Members of Parliament and the DPM/ PM. I sincerely hope Evan Harris continues to speak up for Lib Dem members who feel their opinions and beliefs are being maligned by the coalition. He is an asset to the party not a shady voice from its past.