Agenda 2020 Essay #4 What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today

Editor’s Note: The party is currently running an essay competition for members of the Liberal Democrats, to submit 1000 words on the theme “What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today.” The deadline for contributions is 2nd November. If you would like us to publish your submission, send it to [email protected] 

Liberals by their very nature are people with inquiring minds who want to know as many facts as possible about whatever it is we are considering.

You will rarely see a Liberal reading say the Daily Mail or Daily Mirror because they are little more than propaganda sheets to us. We don’t like our news filtered, we want clear information (not biased opinions) so that we can make up our own minds as free thinking individuals. We try not to jump to conclusions without the necessary information to form a reasonable view.

Liberals are environmentalists by instinct; we are seekers out of corruption, fighters against vested interests and are invariably suspicious of those in authority.

We know that global warming is probably the greatest threat that mankind has ever faced and if we don’t seriously tackle our wasteful ways and our unclean energy use future generations will be left to pick up the mess that we have selfishly left them.

We believe in electoral reform because it will lead to better and more representative government and the devolution of power from Whitehall so to empower people and communities.

We believe in co-operatives and mutual companies and worker participation in running companies.

We understand that a decent welfare system has to help those in need and that the NHS needs to be properly funded.

Many of us will be pro-abortion – supporting a woman’s right to choose, pro-right to die – supporting the right to decide how and when your own life should end.

Many Liberals will be involved in opposing nuclear weapons, objecting to the selling of any weapons to counties that do not respect human rights and we will often be peace activists looking for diplomatic solutions to conflict.

We are internationalist in our outlook because we realise that being inward looking nationalists is the road to ruin not the route to prosperity. Of course we are pro-Europe but we do want the institutions of the EU fundamentally overhauled to make them more representative of the peoples of Europe.

Being a Liberal is fundamentally about freedom to choose so long as the choices we make do not knowingly have an adverse impact on others or the environment that supports us all.

 

* Tony Robertson has been a Party member for 35 years and is the former Lib Dem Leader of Sefton Borough Council on Merseyside

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5 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 27th Oct '15 - 9:47am

    Really useful approach, Tony, achieving a crisp portrait of the Liberal.

  • Richard Underhill 27th Oct '15 - 9:52am

    This is the best of the essays so far.
    Personally i support the right to life but not the so-called ‘right to die’ which contains too many dangers, For instance statements made by qualified doctors to the patients that they are terminally ill can be completely wrong.

  • Basically, liberals are people who think they are smarter than everybody else, is that right?

  • Stephen Hesketh 27th Oct '15 - 12:57pm

    As indicated by Bill le Breton, Tony has written an excellent summary incorporating much of what it is to be a mainstream Liberal Democrat.

    I share Tony’s view and personal position regarding the right choose and the right to die but, like Tony, recognise that many will have the alternative stand point.

    On this and so many issues facing us, the key phrase is Tony’s: “Being a Liberal is fundamentally about freedom to choose so long as the choices we make do not knowingly have an adverse impact on others or the environment that supports us all.”

  • I think the final paragraph of that essay is both the strength and the weakness of a liberal democrat. How do you “sell that ” to an electorate? You can’t. That is not a criticism, it’s an observation. And its why, sadly, Libdems are never going to form government at a national level.

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