I became a Lib Dem member this weekend – Why?

 

Social media is awash with similar responses to this weekend’s tragedy:

“At an awful, heartbreaking time like this, while we pray for Paris, it is important that we [insert strong version of poster’s politics here]”

Fair enough. Shock focuses the mind, and compassion demands action.

Unfortunately, we live in times where liberalism is no longer so mainstream.

What we may have shrugged off before as mild, parochial xenophobia, is turning nasty. Mr Cameron will accept less Syrian refugees in five years than Germany accepted in a week. Those of us who sympathise with all victims of IS, find this totally unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty’s Opposition represents a fortifying of the ideological left. Mr Corbyn’s sympathy for clandestine groups, as long as they purport ‘revolution’ or ‘struggle’ in their pamphlets of hatred is unforgivable. A man that calls Hezbollah and Hamas his friends should have no place at the forefront of British politics today. But he does.

The snapshot social media picture this weekend on the Right shows a growing view of all refugees and Muslims as part of ‘Them’. By the looks of things on the Left, the automatic response that ‘western governments had it coming’ gathers continued support.

Shocking events strengthens resolve, and in the current climate, polarised and insular discourse may strengthen too.

This is all tragically ironic. While the people of Paris were targeted indiscriminately, the lifestyle targeted was extremely specific: a free and progressive society with liberal foundations. My fear is that the terrorists were very successful at hitting that target.

It is clear where their cross-hairs are aimed. They are focused at well-considered, balanced viewpoints. I intend to stand proudly in the firing line.

The Lib Dems are, in my view, the only party that can listen, consult, and respond to protect our country’s fundamental values. This weekend, my insignificant step to fight for modernity and progress was to join the party as a member. My resolve, too, has strengthened.

* Adam is from North London and works in the volunteering projects team at Crisis, a national homelessness charity. He previously considered himself a floating voter.

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24 Comments

  • Jamie Purcell 16th Nov '15 - 9:40am

    Very well written piece, and it’s always good to see new members (I joined myself just after the election) I hope you find your time in the party to be rewarding.

    Your article puts into words some of the worries that I’ve been thinking about over the weekend, and it’s vindicating to see others coming to the same sorts of conclusions that I am. A truly liberal response that recognises that terrorists are in the minority and don’t represent all of Islam, I think is the best place to start to try and avoid escalation and further violence.

  • I am not a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and most certainly not a supporter of Labour, but your comments about Mr Corbyn are as deeply offensive as they are ill informed and inaccurate. Shortly after his election as Labour leader an article appeared online showing various “quotations” similar to the type of selective quotation you have given and also a number of others, from publications such as the Daily Mail, and putting beside it what he had actually said, in full and in context. What he said was completely different from what he was reported as having said. The Libdems are facing obscurity for the foreseeable future and may well have no Westminster representation in Scotland depending on how court proceedings against AC pan out. I am sorry. I do not normally say this type of thing but really, have a good think about what you have, in effect, accused Mr Corbynn of. Is this tragedy really something that should be used for political point scoring? You may not intend it as such but it is coming across that way. You also make no concrete suggestions as to how this very complicated and long standing problem can be addressed.

  • It wasn’t just Paris that was targeted, Beirut was hit by suicide bombers from ISIS two days before Paris.

  • George Kendall 16th Nov '15 - 12:10pm

    Sorry, Steve, but I agree with Adam.

    What is often most instructive about a politicians is not what they say, but what they don’t say.

    Read the following article.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-criticised-by-victims-families-after-failing-to-condemn-the-ira-10442683.html

    What shocks me is that he refused, and as far as I know still refuses, to say something like:

    “While there were crimes committed on both sides, clearly, the crimes committed by some UK soldiers, and perhaps by more senior people in the UK state, were exceptions rather than the norm. The kneecappings and killings by the IRA were sanctioned by their entire leadership. So no, I don’t think there is an equivalence between the two, and I do condemn the IRA’s crimes.”

    So when Adam says: “Mr Corbyn’s sympathy for clandestine groups, as long as they purport ‘revolution’ or ‘struggle’ in their pamphlets of hatred is unforgivable”, he is right.

    If Mr Corbyn did apologise for failing to condemn the IRA over the past twenty years, I for one would forgive him for that, though it would still leave questions about his judgment and character. But as far as I know, he never has.

    Oh, and welcome Adam and Jamie 🙂

  • Welcome, Adam!

  • ” The Lib Dems are, in my view, the only party that can listen, consult, and respond to protect our country’s fundamental values. ”

    Are you serious?

    The LibDems along with Liberal parties across Europe have been at the forefront of destroying or removing our fundamental and cultural values. You oppose secure borders, you want unlimited immigration, you defend illegal immigrants from deportation, and you embrace multi-culturism, especially Islam to the point they seemingly can do no wrong in your eyes, or when they do it is probably justified because of something the ‘West’ did a 100 years ago.

    You have pursued this path, and continue to pursue it if this essay is anything to go by, in diametric opposition to the majority of the people in this country, yet even after this latest atrocity, this sort of naive, sanctimonious essay is seemingly welcomed,

    Is it too much to expect holier than thou Liberals to hold up their hands and accept some responsibility for their naivety in helping to create the circumstances that resulted in the the events of last week.

    I think it probably is, I expect it will be business as usual in LibDem land, initially calling for something to be done, and then get back to promoting open borders and more immigration.

    I think you need to decide what is more important to you, Erasmus scholars hopping off to Europe on grants from the EU, or stopping bombmakers and cold calculated murderers from walking into Paris without challenge.

    I fancy I already know the answer, and it would be extremely depressing if there was the remotest chance that the LIbDems were ever to be part of a British government again.

  • George Kendall 16th Nov ’15 – 12:10pm…………Sorry, Steve, but I agree with Adam………

    Sorry, Adam, but I agree with Steve…
    .Firstly, why does it seem compulsory on almost any LDV thread to find a way of ‘taking a pop’ at Corbyn?
    Secondly, and far more important, is that Corbyn voted against ALL of the calls for military action (Iraq, Libya and Syria)…I’d suggest that, had his example been followed, the ME and the rest of the western world would not be in the current dire situation…

  • Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all you comments and feedback so far. Steve, you raise some fair points and I’m happy to build on them:

    1. On Corbyn’s ‘friends’ comments being misrepresented – I’ve linked to the source material rather than a spurious newspaper article. I.e. if you click on the link, you’ll see the video ‘in context’; not filtered through the eyes of the Daily Mail or some other publication. Please view that. If you still think he’s been misrepresented in my article, then we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    2. On ‘political pointscoring’ being inappropriate – I’m not sure I fully understand what you mean in this case. But if you mean having a reaction to events that blurs politics and emotions, I would say, yes that is what I’m doing and yes that is appropriate. If now is not a good time to reflect on Mr Corbyn’s views on this topic, I don’t know when is. I’m not intending to ‘make it personal’ against Corbyn and apologise if it feels that way to you.

    3. On ‘concrete suggestions’ – Again a good point to raise. My article seeks to lay out why I’ve joined the Lib Dems rather than go into bigger issues (i’m not sure if you are referring to the fact that liberals seems scarcer these days, or what we should do about IS). I do have opinions and concrete suggestions but it didn’t seem on topic – probably for another blog. Tim Farron did make some suggestions on yesterday’s Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4 which are sensible next steps.

  • Second half of responses:

    @Raddiy – British fundamental values are defined by the government as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevent-strategy-2011

    Targetting multiculturalism, as seems to be your wish, is therefore against British Values. Your views dismantle British Values, not my views. If you have a different definition, that’s for you to argue for.

    Your list of assumed views that I as a liberal hold is simply not where I stand on any of that list. I do agree that liberals often talk with an air of piety/ moral superiority and sorry if my article falls into that trap. Better that though, than racist, narrow-minded, unfair chat, even if it is ‘down to earth’.

    Regarding the EU, I would point out that the enmeshing of europe in shared interests is possibly the main reason war between european countries is so unfathomable today.. Europe has until very recently been the most violent, divided region on the planet. What we now do is ‘work together’. It is through the EU that we can coordinate a multilateral response to Islamic extremism – sharing intelligence and working together on military solutions. Closing off boarders is not going to dissuade well-financed terrorists from forging documents and finding alternate routes. Attacking UK muslims does add to terror groups’ narrative against British/ western values though.

    @expats – I can’t speak for other members of the blog and have only just joined. As mentioned previously, I don’t want to make it personal against Corbyn. Still, it would be dishonest of me to leave out Corbyn on an article about why I’m joining the Lib Dems. If I supported Corbyn’s views, I wouldn’t be here! Furthermore, I don’t think ideological blanket voting against military intervention, regardless of what’s on the table is a good thing. I think you need to take each difficult political decision as it comes, rather than always opposing, as he does. Corbyn’s is not the thoughtful approach. Hypotheticals based on indefinite ifs/buts is beside the point – i’d rather security decisions weren’t always made through a ‘gamble on black’ approach…

  • Many of those refugees are economic migrants not from Syria. Many of them will be ISIS. Most of them are young men with the Syrian ones dodging the draft. I wonder what our fathers and grandfathers would say to that. Instead of staying and fighting and rebuilding their respective countries they want to come to Europe. The problem is of course that the homes and jobs do not exist. Benefits do though. When here they do not want to take on our values and beliefs but change us to suit them. Wake up. Wi ter is coming

  • Posted before I finished!
    Winter is coming, how will the migrants react? The promised land does not exist. We were right to take refugees directly from the camps, we will have a better idea who they are.

  • Daniel Henry 16th Nov '15 - 4:14pm

    Great article and comment responses Adam – welcome aboard!

  • Adam I think we’ll be agreeing to disagree on Corbyn. On the issue of political point scoring I feel certain events transcend politics and this is one of them. Posting on it and including pretty strong criticism on political rivals isn’t something I think we should do. I heard Farron’s at lunch time and at least he was thoughtfu, unlike the kneekerk tory position. Truth of the matter is there’s no simple ‘solution’ to this. Interesting that your just going into Libdems and I have just decided in the past week that I am not giving them my list vote.

  • @ Adam Coe

    Adam thank you for the response.

    “British fundamental values are defined by the government as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”

    And how do you square that with the second class status of woman in Islam, something which all the mainstream parties have been happy to turn a blind eye too for decades.How do you square that with the epidemic of child abuse from asian gangs, where is the mutual respect for young girls from them.

    I’m not targeting multiculturism, I am asking the question of why it was imposed on this country against the wishes of the electorate. Multi-culturism is effectively seperate development, the formation of ghetttos,, why was it allowed in preference o full integration..

    Disappointed you threw in the term racism, it seems you not confident in the persuavsiveness of your arguments , without reverting to that old chestnut to try and shut down debate. As a LibDem you need to be careful about making judgements about people you don’t know, especially considering the skeletons that are always overflowing from the cupboard,in LibDem Land.

    ” Regarding the EU, I would point out that the enmeshing of europe in shared interests is possibly the main reason war between european countries is so unfathomable today.”

    The main reason there has been no war in Europe for the last 70 years, or at least continent wide war is because of NATO not the EU, although how you can say with a straight keyboard there is no war in the EU. What on earth do you think happened last Friday, as a direct result of EU open borders. There are more types of war than landing on the Normandy beaches type, Germany has been waging economic war on the Meditteranean countries for the last 7 years, have you not noticed.

    “Closing off boarders is not going to dissuade well-financed terrorists from forging documents and finding alternate routes”

    No but it will make it a lot harder for them to transport rocket launchers and AK47’s from Belgium to France with impunity in the back of a car. I presume with that view, you would fully support the UK joining Schengen tomorrow, and allowing all the economic migrants at Calais to jump on the next Eurostar..

  • nigel hunter 17th Nov '15 - 12:14am

    Raddiy. You seem to me to be searching for somewhere to belong.

  • Nigel
    Maybe that somewhere is Northern Ireland, no multiculturalism, some terrorism though.

  • expats 1:04 pm
    And no Arab Spring?

  • peter tyzack 17th Nov '15 - 11:16am

    it is not for others to tell us who our Leader should, or should not be, so whether Corbyn is, or is not what he is accused of, it is for his Party to determine. For the same reason I am opposed to the US (or anyone else) on some pretext deciding that a sovereign country’s leader needs to go. If we truly believe in ‘democracy’ then we should work in support of that; if we believe in humanity we should rely on diplomacy; if we believe in the rule of law, then we should follow it.

  • peter tyzack 17th Nov '15 - 11:18am

    and for an excellent exposee of true British values, look no further than our Preamble..

  • Welcome on board, Adam. There has never been a more important time to stand up for liberal values, not as Tories claim liberal values, but true liberalism. There has never been a more important time for Europe to come together to protect itself from this vile insurgency. We need to counter the nationalist, isolationist rhetoric of UKIP and others.

    Raddiy, I have to totally disagree with your point of view, except in one respect. LibDems do need to examine their relationship with the Muslim community, not in the way you imply, but in order to understand and include the vast majority of moderate Muslims who have chosen to live in the UK. On specific charge of the way Muslim men treat women, it may be culturally OK for some groups to treat women as chattel, including some Christian and Hindu groups lets not forget, but it is anti Islamic to treat women in this way. My wife’s family are largely Muslim. In that family, not only are the women complete equals, they are the cement for the family.
    I have often heard from UKIP that it is NATO and not the EU that protects Europe. This is factually incorrect. NATO have officially stated that the EU is vital for the work of NATO, without the EU it would not be effective. NATO is North America in partnership with Europe. It is not the USA protecting us from whatever. NATO cannot protect Europe from Da’eshIS.

  • Adam welcome to the Liberal Democrats!

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