2021 – the year in review: March

A legend passed away unexpectedly. Heavens, he could be troublesome – cantankerous, occasionally outrageously rude, but if any one person represented the sheer bloody-mindedness of Liberal Democrat campaigners, it was Tony Greaves. A peerage did little to change him other than to allow him a platform to make life miserable for hapless Government ministers. We still miss him but, as Molly Nolan noted, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Another remote Federal Conference saw Ed Davey outline his vision for the country. Some of you weren’t impressed but then again, some of you aren’t actually Liberal Democrats. Meanwhile, my colleague, Paul Walter offered an insight into the mechanics of intervening in a debate and mused about the lack of a conference bar. Take my advice, Paul, and find a local brewery that delivers…

A feature of the year was a series of calls for the resignation of Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and in March, the events at the vigil for Sarah Everard were the cause of much outrage. The debate developed into a discussion of male violence against women and how women could feel safer in their day to day lives. Caroline Pidgeon wrote powerfully for us.

It was part of a debate about equality generally, with International Women’s Day marked by Chloe Hutchinson’s call for more young people in politics, whilst Beatrice Wishart spoke powerfully in Holyrood about the participation of women in public life generally. Party Vice-President Isabelle Parasram wrote about what she’d learned about life with a disability, whilst the month ended with the marking of the Trans Day of Visibility.

Building a more just society was an emerging theme, as Katharine Pindar wrote about equality as a Liberal Democrat value just as freedom is, whilst Jon Alexander proposed basic income as a unique selling point in the upcoming local elections. I wrote about the Shamima Begum case, noting my concerns over the Government’s willingness to make it easier to take away citizenship. Even I didn’t think that Priti Patel would move that fast…

One of the better things about 2021 was the emergence of the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, as a regular contributor. Persuading us to stretch our traditional word limits for articles, he wrote a series of thought-provoking pieces, including this look at the Government’s attempts to fight a culture war.

There were by-elections, the lifeblood of Liberal Democrats, again, but only in Scotland and Wales. And, whilst there were a few promising signs – candidates being fielded where they hadn’t been previously – there was little else to suggest a resurgence of liberalism in either. The polling numbers weren’t really shifting towards us either…

Conservatives 43%, Labour 33%, Liberal Democrats 7%, Greens 7%

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice. The 1955 Citizenship Act, as passed by the Indian Parliament, outlines his eligibility for Indian citizenship.

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  • Yeovil Yokel 27th Dec '21 - 1:45pm

    Thanks, Mark – an excellent summary (and perhaps you should add part-time comedy script writing to your day job).

  • Suzanne Fletcher 28th Dec '21 - 10:47am

    what a good summary, and loved your concise but accurate sketch of Tony, sorely missed by not just me, but many.
    As for missing the bar, some of us enjoyed a virtual bar on the evenings of our virtual conferences. Watch out for some in March,

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