Mathew’s Musings -commentary on this week’s news

Our new leader

I wish Vince all the luck in the world, in what is one of the most demanding jobs in politics today…ensuring we get enough coverage to break through and continue the Lib Dem Fightback which Tim Farron made a such a good start on during his time in the top job.

There’s no doubt that Vince has pretty good name recognition among the general public (for a politician, anyway) and is clearly a trusted voice on the economy, something which hasn’t always been the case for our leaders.

As the star of a past Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing, we can but hope that Strong and Cable Vince will glide across the political scene and ensure that liberalism and social democracy not only survive but thrive in the form of the Liberal Democrats in the years ahead.

Social Democrat

Speaking of social democracy, it’s worth noting that Vince is the first former SDP member to lead us since one of my all time political heroes, the late, great Charles Kennedy.

I know some in our party would apparently like to forget the social democratic element of the two fine political traditions that formed to make the Lib Dems back in 1988, but I’ve never quite understood why.

Yes, of course, our liberal heritage and principles are vitally important to us but so, I’d argue, is our social democratic heritage and principles.

Especially if we want to continue to attract to the Lib Dem banner moderate, Centre-Left Labour members.

I have no problem at all in saying that I’m a proud Social Liberal and a proud Social Democrat and I commend the work in our party of the Social Liberal Forum (@soclibforum) and the Social Democrat Group (@socdemgroup) in helping keep these two forces alive and well in our party.

Vince will, I’m sure, continue and build on Tim’s work in ensuring we remain a liberal party of the centre-left, which values individual liberty and opportunity but also has a very strong sense of society, of community and the need for no one to be enslaved in poverty.

Age is not a problem

Some in the media have, already, tried to make Vince’s age an issue.

On that, I’m reminded of Ronald Reagan’s response when his age was raised during one of the 1984 Presidential debates he had with Democratic candidate Walter Mondale.

I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I’m not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.

That was the line of the night and Reagan went on to win a second term in the White House.

Youth and experience both have their place in political leadership and in Vince and Jo Swinson we have the best of both worlds and a formidable team to take us forward to future successes.

A bad week for the Australian Greens

And finally, as you’ll come to find out in this column, I’m a big fan of Australian politics.

The Aussie Greens have had a rather unfortunate week…losing both of their Deputy Leaders, due to them discovering they had dual citizenships (something, in the Australian constitution, which prevents someone standing for the federal parliament) despite the fact they’d lived in Australia for most of their lives and believed they no longer had any formal connections with the nations of their birth.

They’ve had to resign as Senators and their leadership positions.

All this in a country which has the British Queen as its Head of State.

It’s a funny old world.

See you next week!

* Mathew Hulbert is a parish Councillor in Leicestershire.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jul '17 - 12:09am

    A nice piece , enjoyable style and good sense.

    I too support the respect and affection for the social democrat heritage.

    I was a Labour party member who identified as that in my youth, more as a social Liberal now, but keen on both if applied ,perhaps acutely aware of similarities ,unlike some who see ways to divide as every chance taken for being fusspots !

    Mathew , keep up the reasonable attitude…

  • David Walker 22nd Jul '17 - 2:40am

    An excellent piece. As a party we now need to make it clear that we have a firm and sound economic policy. It is not free trade or protectionism although the right balance between those two is essential, it is about the role of the state.

    1. to ensure that every citizen has educational opportunites to achieve their maximum use of abilities and most fulfilled life.

    2. to provide health care that no one’s life should be imited or restricted.

    3. to ensure that the state establishes and controls organisatioms to provide the infrastructure for a soud economy, (look at the German railways, not nationalised but owned by the government)

    4. to protect the citizens by preventing crime and corruption.

    This is taken largely from the CDU constitution, without the Christian section

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Jul '17 - 12:16pm

    Andrew Neil, former editor of the Sunday Times said on BBC TV that he had been taught economics by Vince Cable, but fell asleep. One wonders whether Vince remembers this dozy student.

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