Conference Speeches: Kavya Kaushik from Saturday’s Rally

We have managed to get hold of a  wonderful speech given by former Liberal Youth co-Chair Kavya Kaushik at Saturday’s rally in which she talked of the joy of campaigning across the country and of the importance of defending our liberal values. Here it is in full:

Thank you so much for having me here. My name is Kavya and I joined theLib Dems in 2010. I had always been liberal at heart and had received supporter emails for some time. Finally, one email told me to donate money for the general election. I decided that I should donate my time instead and walked into a campaign office in Hampstead. I was star struck to go door knocking with Baroness Ludford and even more star struck when it was Boy George who opened the door. Thankfully I wasn’t campaigning in Hampstead Heath, meeting Ed Miliband would probably put me off politics forever.

Whether it’s rural Aberdeenshire or inner city London. Berwick uponTweed or Hamble village. I have seen radical grassroots campaigners from every background and every age unite to get more LiberalDemocrats elected.

What we lack in money, media and trade union backing, we make up so remarkably in passion and a heavy dose of self-­depreciating humour.We’ve always been beyond the trends. Even with fashion: Just the other day, Justin Bieber was photographed with an apparently hipster chic look of socks and sandals. Clearly we’ve been hipster chic for over 40 years.

Young people make up the core of our party’s heart.

In Sheffield, a Sunday morning canvassing session had us in the office at 8.30 am,despite a night of heavy partying. I myself sacrificed not only a knee to theLib Dem Gods by taking overnight megabuses to action weekends, but my23rd birthday to the Aberdeen Donside by election.

Most recently in the Scottish referendum, young Liberal Democrats wentabove and beyond to prove that we are Better Together. Young Scottish members such as Hannah Bettsworth and Jon Waddell have campaigned every single week for 2 years. Young people united across the country to help. As far away as Dorset, people like Katie Wetherall, travelled across the country to Inverness to help keep our country together.

Our party has got some of the most talented young people making a difference to elections up and down the country.

But conference I’m afraid.

I’m afraid by prejudice across my country. I’m afraid the centre is shifting further to the right. I’m afraid that Sam Phripp, a Lib Dem councillor,recently had to resign his seat due to homophobia by the opposition. I’m afraid every time someone faces me on the doorstep and tells me they hate immigrants. I’m afraid of the policies a Conservative or Labour majority government will enact.

I’m afraid we are not doing enough to counter discrimination. Now more than ever, it’s our duty, | not to give in to the politics of fear | and division, | but to stand up | for hope | for aspiration. It is our duty, to face up to the barriers that divide us, to tear them down and say no matter who you are, gay, straight, black white, able, disabled, that you have the right to be who you are and what you want to be.

It’s our duty, no matter where we are, to spread the message of tolerance, of acceptance, of liberalism. This is the essence of our party. The heart of the Liberal Democrats. If we don’t get out there and bring it to voters I am afraid we will allow the right-wing tide to take us over. I have never been prouder than when I saw Nick Clegg stand  tall against the politics of fear and division of Nigel Farage. I have never prouder than when we campaigned, town by town, street by street, door by door, for the politicsof openness, of tolerance of liberalism. And I will do it again, and again, and again, until no one in this country  is imprisoned by intolerance, greed and poverty.



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  • Hi Kavya, I’m a long life labour supporter though my wife and kids and many friends voted lib dem at the 2010 election.
    If what you say is true first can you tell me why the libdems are losing not only support but members by the thousands. When you come fifth in both the by elections on thursday and lose your deposits who are YOU personally going to blame and can YOU tell me what policies that the libdems have supported over the last parliament has hurt the very people who voted libdem in 2010. I believe by the welfare cuts you have supported have helped to cripple the libdems and set you back generations but far worse than that you have allowed the rise of an evil party known as UKIP rise from the bowls of the earth who are more right wing than thatcher. A sad day for the libd dems a sad day for us all.


  • Tony Greaves 7th Oct '14 - 2:44pm

    Plenty of angry and bigoted Labour supporters around and we have to get used to it…but I really do shake my head at the idea that it’s the Liberal Democrats who have “allowed” UKIP to “rise from the bowels of the earth”!

    Tony Greaves

  • Charles Rothwell 7th Oct '14 - 5:07pm

    I thought Kavya’s speech was superb and it was a pleasure to listen to her and I took pride in belonging to a party which can attract such talented and erudite young people.

    Alan: If you think a Labour government on its own is going to initiate the Socialist paradise, reverse the huge cuts which are coming (to a good (but not (as some Conservatives would have us believe) exclusive) extent due to the incompetence of “no more boom or bust” Brown (when in fact the worst in a century was around the corner due to a totally unregulated financial sector), then I think you are about as deluded as you are wrong about the LDs being responsible for the rise of UKIP, the vast bulk of whose following is made up of angry old men who were Labour supporters all their lives and were sickened to death by what Blair and Brown got up and are totally disenchanted by Cameron and his public school crew. The LDs should be respected for answering the call to deal with easily the worst crisis this country has faced since 1940. They obviously did not get everything right, but, after hearing what is coming out of Glasgow (unlike the inconsequential “36% strategy” which came out of Manchester and the huge lurch to the Right which came out of Birmingham (meaning great chunks of the Tory Party will now be indistinguishable from Farage and his ilk), no-one can possibly claim the LDs are “just like the others”!

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