Author Archives: Jack Davies

No. The Lib Dems should not disband, but we have got to change strategy

I’ve been involved in politics for five years – although it has felt a lot longer – and experienced three General Election campaigns. Each one has been disappointing for the Liberal Democrats and each has led to a lot of soul-searching after polling day about what went wrong. The answer is almost always the same: the Lib Dems got squeezed out by the playground bullies of the British political system and failed to stand out from the crowd.

That sort of answer then seems to lead directly to the usual articles in tabloid newspapers about the relevance of the Liberal Democrats as a political party. These articles, usually calling for the Liberal Democrats to disband entirely and be absorbed into the author’s preferred choice of either Labour or the Conservatives, rest on the idea that a political party which is not one of the two parties most likely to form a government in its own right is not relevant to political debate. This is nonsense perpetuated by columnists who fail to understand that it is the voting system, not the parties themselves, which dictates the government which is formed after an election.

While I could spend the entirety of this article explaining the reasons behind my support for a proportional voting system which would give political parties a share of the seats in the House of Commons which more closely aligns with their share of the popular vote, I want to focus instead on the Liberal Democrat platform which is so often derided as being centrist.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 25 Comments

Opinion: On The Buses? Not anymore

One of my first memories of my childhood was catching the number 119 bus from the corner of Efford Way, where I lived. It would take us into Lymington High Street, passing through Howards Mead, Bays Road and other roads that made up Pennington Village.

I never thought of how important that bus service was to those elderly, young and infirm people perched on the edge of their seats around me. It was only as I grew older that I began to appreciate the bus service more. Whenever I needed to quickly nip into Lymington, it was there. There was never any thought of funding or the possibility that the service might not be run on Saturday (market day).

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Opinion: Secularism: the cure to religious extremism?

The first Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, once stated “He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government”. Although falling short of advocating a fully secular state, Ataturk highlights the weakness of a state reliant upon a particular religious doctrine to lend legitimacy to a government.

Secularism, according to Dictionary.com, is the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element. In simple terms, the separation of church and state. The separation of religious influence from public policy is greatest within OECD nations such as the United Kingdom and Belgium. Article 20 of the latter nation’s constitution states: “No one can be obliged to contribute in any way whatsoever to the acts and ceremonies of a religion, nor to observe the days of rest.”

Take a moment to absorb how revolutionary that excerpt is and how controversial it would have been in 1830 when the Belgian revolution created a new sovereign, secular state within a Europe dominated by religion. However, I am not interested in assessing whether secularism has been a success in these relatively stable nations, but in examining whether it can provide a long term cure to the epidemic of religious extremism sweeping in from the Middle East.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 66 Comments
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