Author Archives: Hilton Marlton

Righteous Indignation. Let’s stop shouting

Over the past four years, liberals and progressives across the UK and the USA seem to have been trapped in a cycle of perpetual outrage. The attacks on liberties and cherished values, which have been won over lifetimes, are in a seeming state of never-ending assault. Since Trump and Brexit, hardly a day goes by without something so outrageous that we simply cannot let it go unchallenged. There is always something to shout about. So much to be furious about. So little time to defend the onslaught on our core beliefs. It always seems to get worse, not better.

The past four years have been exhausting. There has been no let-up!

For those not providing essential services, the upside to lockdown has been an abundance of enforced quality time; time to stop, reflect and to explore new perspectives. During this quiet time, it’s become apparent just how much time, money and emotional input we’ve invested doing absolutely everything we could do to stop Brexit and the rise of Johnson and the Jingoistic right. I am one of the countless thousands who spent a fortune getting to marches and rallies, who spent weekends at conferences and on street stalls, who bought t-shirts, flags etc. etc. Opposing Brexit was an almost full-time occupation. It has been emotionally and financially draining.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

Narcissm – Democracy’s Nemesis?

Jacinda Ardern’s empathic response to the bombing of a mosque in New Zealand in March this year made international headlines. The press went into a frenzy over her sensitive and visibly moved reactions to those affected by the tragedy.

It’s really telling of our age, that Ardern herself became the subject of the news when she was doing what any decent leader should be doing. We elect politicians to represent us, so surely the ability to sympathise and to imagine who we, the electorate are, what our needs, aspirations and vulnerabilities are, is a basic requirement of the job?

Why are we putting up with Johnson and Trump when we could have Ardern? We are living through an epidemic of manipulation on a global scale and there is a pattern to how we got to this point. It didn’t happen over night.

While some of my Brexit-weary friends are turning to G&T, baking or prayer, my pick me up has been Ramani Durvasala. Durvasala has been studying Trump’s seemingly erratic behaviour and is finding that it follows a set pattern. Each time Trump gets away with something outrageous, he goes one step further and the next unthinkable thing happens. Liberals are in a permanent state of shock and disbelief.

Trump, like his friends Johnston and Farage are narcissists. We hear the word bandied about quite a lot at the moment and while each of us has some degree of narcissism, at their most extreme, sociopathic narcissist have key behaviours in common. They:-

• lack empathy and compassion.
• are manipulative and will distort the truth to suit themselves
• think the law and rules are for others, not them
• are highly critical of others but don’t take criticism well themselves • are entitled and often pompous
• are quick to anger, rage and outbursts
• are superficial and shallow

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Welsh Liberal Democrats’ success at the Royal Welsh Show

Its a truth universally acknowledged that…….there are no ‘ups’ with out ‘downs’, and we Welsh Lib Dems know more than others what ‘down’ feels like. Its crap, to put it bluntly. ‘Down’ is deep and its hard to dust your self off and start climbing up again.

So, its good to report that many of us Welsh Lib Dems are on cloud nine after an exhilarating 4 days at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells. If you’ve never visited the Royal Welsh before, it’s the largest agricultural show in Europe, with a foot fall of about a quarter of a million. It is by far the largest event on the Welsh calendar and one which makes us proud. A great day out for the family and a celebration of the diversity and excellence of the agricultural sector in Wales and beyond. Wales at its very best!

The Welsh Lib Dems have had a stand at the show for ages, but last year we missed a beat and lost out. That may well have been a good thing: time to reflect on our losses and time to try a new trajectory. This year we returned with a vengeance! We had a plan, an excellent plot and a refreshing, slightly crazy concept.

I recall Sal Brinton saying at WLD conference last autumn that we need more humour in our campaigning, that we need to make campaigning fun and accessible. I’m happy to say that we’ve risen to that challenge and the results have been remarkable. More on that in a bit.

This year we planned a stall and campaign around our fantastic Cabinet Secretary Kirsty Williams and the education portfolio which she holds in Welsh Government. We were lucky to have the skills of a very talented volunteer who designed everything on the stand from its 14m long backdrop to its banners, flags and super cute EU-flag-Libby-animal stickers. We even ran a kiddies colouring in completion each day on the stand, which was surprisingly popular. It was in more of a hill billy theatre production than a political stand. We had straw bales to sit on and bunting festooned like a barn dance.

The whole show this year was geared towards young children and, surprise surprise, everyone loved it. We created a stand that was fun, inviting and definitely not stuffy and digitally designed corporate. What a pleasure it was to see a sun burned farmer walk off with a cute Libby/pony/EU flag sticker!There was a lot of laugher. Nearly 40 Welsh Lib Dems helped on the stall, ranging from the newest Newbies to former MPs and members of the Lords. Even Jane Dodds our brilliant and dynamic leader had her slot on the roster to zip up the marquee for the night. We were a team again and we worked effortlessly together. It felt very good.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments
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