The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy in a fairer society. We might be sick of hearing that phrase but it does sum up our party’s values pretty well.
Yet Nick Clegg’s speech on Friday would damage the party’s plans for a stronger economy in a fairer society.
If Nick Clegg truly wants to enable everyone to get on in life, he should re-consider this new illiberal stance on immigration.
Liberal Youth oppose Nick Clegg’s ’security bonds’ policy, which will stifle foreign entrepreneurship and investment in Britain. We should be encouraging people to start up businesses in here, which create jobs and economic growth. We cannot say we are being open and tolerant on immigration, whilst putting up further barriers to those who want to come into this country, to work and to get on.
However regardless of your view on this policy there is something else troubling about this speech.
Where was the debate?
As a party we pride ourselves on the ability to debate ideas to achieve the best possible policy outcome.
Yet the way in Nick Clegg announced the idea of the Government trialling a “bonds” system for migrants from high risk countries was done with no regard for the internal democracy. It is not possible for us to put forward a coherent argument for a stronger economy and a fairer society if there is a rift between the grassroots and the leadership.
To ensure that we have an open and frank debate on immigration, Liberal Youth has launched a petition to ask Nick Clegg to have an open discussion on the direction of the party’s immigration policy via a webinar chat.
Whilst we recognise that Andrew Stunnell is leading a review into the party’s Immigration policy, we feel the despair of grassroots members towards this issue cannot be overlooked. We are asking for Nick Clegg to discuss and engage with members, and ensure a proper debate on immigration within the party can take place. The Leadership of the party need to take into account the views of members before making a huge policy shift, especially one considered illiberal.
We ask you to sign our petition and share it with your friends.
* Sam Fisk and Kavya Kaushik are co-chairs of Liberal Youth