Friday, 9 December 2011

Why I fight and why I'm a Liberal democrat

People get into politics for four reasons.

1. On a simple, local issue that they feel strongly about. It could be anything from wanting a new pedestrian crossing on the main street or something larger like the combating of "Boris Island"

2. To represent the needs of constituency or ward and help your communities or improve/defend public services.

3. For the glory of your party, be it Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative or any of the others. Your party can do no wrong and the other parties must be exposed as the liars, flim-flam men, cads, bounders, and frauds that they are. Nothing short of total victory at the cost of the others can be tolerated.

4. Linked in to 3. is For your own personal glory. You want in and to go as far as you possibly can with in your party and if you are lucky enough to be in the "Big Two" you could aim for minister or even Prime Minister, hope for a peerage all by towing the party line and nodding "Yes minister." at the expense of your constituents needs and wants.

So which one am I?

Well, there is no ONE burning issue that I am for or against in Medway, there are so many little issues and big issues that I think need to be dealt with.

There is no real hope that Medway Council will EVER turn Gold or that in the near future will we form a solid and equal opposition. Maybe by 2020 or 2025 this will be the case. The same is true Nationally. The days of Asquith and Lloyd George are long gone and a Liberal Democrat Parliament is nothing more than a fool's hope, but a hope worth clinging too.
Any one who has read my Blog or indeed my comments on Twitter will know that although I do support the party I am also not adverse to criticising our policies and actions Nationally and locally and will also take most constructive criticism on the chin.
I'm sure that any criticism to the Party, local and National is probably to my own detriment but at the end of the day I say what I see and if I think the party are being sloppy or not representing the needs of the community I will say.

I also have no political aspirations. I no sooner see myself in Westminster than I do on the bridge of a Stardestroyer fighting the Rebellion. I already work away in London and am gone for long periods of time as it is and although the salary would be nice and the aim noble I would dearly miss my family who are the centre of my universe.
Someone once said that "You don't become a Lib Dem for political power." and that is very true. If I had aspirations or ambition to be running the country or a ministry I would have swallowed my convictions years ago and joined the "Big two" and gone for it.

So that leaves me firmly in bracket two. My interests are semi selfish as in that I use public services and am fairly low down in the pay scale, though our house income is £30k P.A and therefore average. I want to protect and improve on the services available in Medway for myself and my family as well as for the local people.
I also worry about Boris Island, Council cuts to services, regeneration, the Hospital mergers... These things will affect us all. If anything, for the larger problems I believe where there is a common cause local parties should work together for the resolution.
I've watched debates on Twitter between Labour and Conservatives devolve into arguments and wanting to attribute blame;
"You brought in RPI"

"You privatised the rail!"

"Labour this!"
"Tories That!"

All the time this goes on we, the commuter and voters miss out. I've seen ALL parties do this on Twitter and I don't want to be a part of it. I think it is counter productive and ultimately this sort of petty squabbling and using of Spin benefits no one and even turns people off from Politics.

So why am I a Lib dem? Well... I've always had an attraction to lost causes including historical interests into losing armies (Napoleon, Generals Burgoyne and Cornwallis, the Wehrmacht etc...) and the Lib dems in the 90's were a similar lost cause so it seemed.
I learnt about the great Liberal governments of Asquith, Campbell Bannerman and Lloyd George and of their reforms during my A'levels then at University studied political philosophy and was attracted to Mill's work On Liberty.

I didn't trust Labour after the DNA archives, stop and search powers, ID cards and the waste that seemed to be mounting and I was unsure of the Conservative party - I remembered the splits over Europe and harsh economics from my childhood but knew they would probably be different now. The Lib Dems were something else, something new and fresh with an approach that was not tied down to a demographic but about representing people's needs locally and nationally.

Then in a long discussion with my friend Caroline on a slow work day it was argued that if you believed in a party enough then you should join it and we both agreed to join our respective party and so I did.
Then came Nick Clegg. I respected Clegg's message and Charisma and I really believe(d) that we could bring about this change nationally and in a way we are, just not in the way we'd all hoped.

Now I stand in the Medway Libdems trying to help people and keep services that people want.

I'd like to think that if I were to stand again for Medway Council, seriously, then I wouldn't do it for the fame, the party or the power but for the people of my ward.

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