This post was prompted by a comment:
“Clegg days the Lib Dems are no longer a protest party? No longer a need for them then.”
No doubt an ad hoc comment on (via Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian/Observer):
Nick Clegg is delivering his main speech to the Lib Dem spring conference later this morning and, from the extracts that have been released overnight, it may well be the most upbeat, optimistic speech that he has ever delivered. Here are the key points.
• Clegg will say that the Lib Dems are now longer a protest party.
In the days after the [Eastleigh] by-election, even though we won, I was asked how I feel about our party no longer being a magnet for the protest vote. No longer the automatic ‘none-of-the-above’ choice. But the truth is: the Liberal Democrats are not a party of protest, we are a party of change. A party that is for things, not simply against things…
The Liberal Democrat Party is not going to disappear anytime soon. Regardless of sweeping statements.
If other Party’s (or members thereof) wish us to disappear, one has to ask why?
Are we a thorn in their side keeping them from inflicting their will on the Country, unchecked? or, do they just want to annihilate anyone who doesn’t agree with their views? (isn’t that a dictatorship?). Whatever the reason, we simply must remain to give voters an option for change, at local and national levels.
As I have previously stated, I do not agree with every decision the Party makes, that goes for everyone in any Party, I guess, but my views are more in line with the Libdems, than any other Party in our political spectrum.
To quote Paddy Ashdown from his speech at conference yesterday:
“I was not born a Liberal. I became one nearly 40 years ago. When a man in a bobble hat knocked on my door and asked for my vote. To be honest I told him I wasn’t interested. I was fed up with all politicians. But he was insistent. So I told him if he could persuade me Liberalism was different, he could have my vote.
What happened next, changed my life.
What he said was a million miles from the paternalism of the two then dominant parties that had so spectacularly failed 1970s Britain. The state socialism of the Labour party. The casual and heartless incompetence of the Conservatives.
He convinced me there was something different. A vision that has driven our party and its predecessors for more than 150 years. The Liberal promise to enable and empower every citizen – to fulfil their potential – regardless of wealth, or gender, or colour or creed.
To enable them to be who they want to be…”
We may disagree, like brothers and sisters and argue between ourselves, no other Party has a conference like ours! We all have different ideas how to achieve those ideals (as I write this the “secret courts” debate is running at conference), but we do agree that we want “to enable and empower every citizen – to fulfil their potential – regardless of wealth, or gender, or colour or creed”
So there is a need for the Liberal Democrats, no longer as a protest party, as party that has achieved 75% of its manifesto, as a party that makes up the coalition government and can do so again in 2015, as a party who CAN also make a difference locally. Somewhere my political views can be achieved, which could never happen under Tory, Labour, UKIP et al.
The more other Party’s tell us we are not needed, actually tells us we are very much needed.