Author Archives: Johnny McDermott

Johnny McDermott is a Glasgow university Law graduate who is studying for his masters with a focus on moral and political philosophy. A fairly recent Liberal Democrat member, he was inspired to join the party when Sir Paddy Ashdown, a man he greatly admired, died.

“Sit down, love” – a father’s dilemma

I am still not sure how I feel about my introducing politics to my twelve-year-old daughter. I don’t like the idea of indoctrination, and despite being open about my views, I try to balance them with what the opposing ideas are, so she doesn’t just take what I say as gospel.

It’s tricky. If I think “I’m right”, shouldn’t I teach her what “is right”? Yet, my father did not. A Labour man his whole life, and I barely knew it till he died. They did not shelter us from it. My parents allowed us to know the ideas and make our own choices. I want to try to do that for my daughter.

One thing I will not offer an “alternative view” for is the need for civilised discourse, the need to agree to disagree and make friendships across party-lines. She came home from school a little envious of her environmentally woke friends, who had chosen the subject for their end of primary school talks. We talked a while about the issues she thought important. Gender was chief amongst them. 

I made the mistake of only really knowing about strong legal women, and it ended up tilting to Ruth Bader Ginsburg (we’d seen On the Basis of Sex – a Hollywood biopic about the second Supreme Court Justice –  a month prior) and – to include the crossing-divides theme – Sandra Day O’Connor, of whom we knew nothing.

In the end it was a little convoluted and rushed – how to explain Constitutional Law and the Separation of Powers, gender equality and civilised debate in modern politics in 5-7 minutes was perhaps an editorial screw up on my part. But she understood it. Better, she came up with most of it herself. Did her own research and typed her own speech. It was very important to include SDC’s love of beef jerky because it showed she grew up on a ranch and was strong. Also RBG’s love of opera. Obviously. 

Like any parent, I got a sting of disappointment for her when it didn’t get selected for their assembly; but I thought she’d gained a lot from it and was proud of herself. And more sure of herself, as a young woman.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Brexit: Do we follow Jeremy Corbyn or revert to Theresa May’s plan?

With regard to Brexit, two options remain for the Liberal Democrats. They are unpalatable. Our very newfound strength represents unconverted electoral energy. We must not overplay our hand.

There is no legitimate option to Remain without attempting reform. We cannot just hope that the far-right does not swell and that our fulsome democracy is not irreparably damaged and left as an empty shell of majoritarian rule. The likes of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson know how to pipe the tune to destruction.

These are not hollow (Project) fears. We must guard against them as vigilantly as we try to prevent No Deal.

Our options:

Jeremy Corbyn. He offers us a government of national unity to stop No Deal. Then a General Election that we’ve been chomping at the bit to fight. Then – he assumes he’ll win, but we’ll see about that! – a referendum. For this we must accept Jeremy Corbyn as a neutered Prime Minister for a little while. And – I know my fellow Scottish LDs won’t want to hear it – IndyRef2 for the SNP’s support.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 46 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJonathan Maltz 15th Nov - 12:48am
    John B: my comment was tongue-in-cheek. All Labour can offer given their well-known intransigence is to guarantee that the Tories will be the largest party...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 14th Nov - 11:42pm
    Jo Swinson says that the party "must give voters a genuine remain option" in the election. Quite right. The problem is that the party is...
  • User Avatarcrewegwyn 14th Nov - 11:30pm
    Thanks Mark.
  • User AvatarGaryE 14th Nov - 11:04pm
    David makes a valid point for seats with few resources and low membership. If central funds can pay deposits then £500 pays for 15,000 A4...
  • User AvatarDavid Sheppard 14th Nov - 9:20pm
    Thanks Mark for thinking of those not so well packed full of Liberals places like mine. We have had to fund from our own meagre...
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 14th Nov - 8:27pm
    @ Mick Taylor, 13th November,7,31pm Whilst pacts are understandable given our FPTP system, maybe I am being obtuse , but don't they also reduce voter...