LibLink: Norman Lamb: We can build a new progressive, liberal movement of change across the country

Yes, I know, lots of leadership stuff today – but then, there’s a lot out there and it is a Very Big Thing for the party at the Norman Lamb badgesmoment.

Norman Lamb has outlined his vision for Politics Home. Trust the people, he says:

As liberals, we fundamentally believe that government can’t pick and choose which human rights are important, or who should have them.  We believe that powerful organisations – both public and private – must be open and accountable.  And we believe that, when people use the internet, they don’t surrender the right to privacy from government snooping.

And at the very heart of my liberalism is the idea that we must trust in people. That we must take power away from unaccountable institutions and give it to individuals – so that they can decide how to live their lives, rather than being told what to do by the state.

Nearly a decade ago, I won a long battle with the Labour government to force the then-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to publish lists of the individuals he met.  That principle now extends across all government ministers – and is crucial in holding ministers to account for the way that decisions are made.

And it’s important to give those most vulnerable a proper say in what happens to them:

I want Liberal Democrats to lead the way in giving those suffering from mental ill health and those with learning disabilities and autism the right to make meaningful decisions about their care and support – to take control, not to be treated as second class citizens. For those who are terminally ill, surely it should be for them to decide when to end their life, not the state. Liberal Democrats in Local Government want to put power in the hands of communities rather than doing things to people. Giving hundreds of thousands the choice of decent housing.  And making sure that when people choose whom to vote for, their vote will actually count for something.

You can read the whole article here.

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11 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 31st May '15 - 3:01am

    This is good, but I think it is not clear enough to be very good. I’m so disillusioned with all the parties in British politics right now that I think I am going to leave you guys alone for a bit.

    I’ll probably keep voting Lib Dem if Norman wins, unless something else comes along, but I can’t see it being any of the existing parties, no matter who wins the Labour leadership election.

  • Why do MPs keep saying things like “we believe that, when people use the internet, they don’t surrender the right to privacy from government snooping.”? We know from Snowden that when people use the internet they completely surrender their privacy, and our nation’s Tempora project is the world leader in bulk internet data collection. The idea we can stop a decade old process that now forms the basis for international intelligence collection seems naive to say the least, especially when we’ve been in government for the last 5 years! We never voted for these systems initially, they don’t respond to democracy or notions of freedom or fairness and it seems as if they’re not up for debate. Norman’s line was marginally better than Tim’s actions in this field, but it demonstrates a similar level of comprehension. If we’re ever going to make meaningful progress in limiting GCHQ’s power it won’t be by talking as if we’re trying to stop something that’s already happened. Alongside these statements of rebellion against internet surveillance must surely be a plan to reform our intelligence services. Are we seriously saying that GCHQ shouldn’t snoop on anyone? What about terrorists, drug dealers and other wrong-uns? This is just the sort of area where I find Lib Dem “policy” lacking, sounding more like a protest group such as the ORG than a serious political entity. Many will find it hard to trust a party that doesn’t have pragmatic solutions and approaches to topics such as national security. I don’t disagree with the overall sentiment, it just sounds like something someone should of said about 15 years ago, today it’s irrelevant and makes the party look naive.

    That aside, I found the mental health, learning disabilities, right to die section much more agreeable. Has Tim stated whether he supports the right to die for the terminally ill yet?

    @Eddie
    Many feel like this but there isn’t a better alternative out there, so you might as well try and improve what we’ve got until something better comes along! Chin up! 🙂

  • Are the badges with the words “NORM TROOPER” supposed to be an echo of the elite 1930 political /fighting group known as ‘Storm Troopers’?

    This might be unwise.

  • SIMON BANKS 31st May '15 - 5:57pm

    There is no doubt that Norman Lamb is a real and thoughtful Liberal. So is Tim Farron. There are important differences between them but not a great gulf.

    I agree that trust in the people is – as Gladstone said – at the heart of Liberalism (within reason, of course, as Gladstone himself stressed: “trust of the people tempered by prudence”). But is taking power from the state taking it away from “unaccountable institutions”? I’d have said precisely that any part of a democratic state is accountable. The unaccountable institutions are the Monsantos, Exxons and News Internationals.

  • A Social Liberal 31st May '15 - 7:23pm

    No John, they are a take off of the elite soldiers of the galactic empire.

  • @John Tilley Schosstruppen were originally raised in WW1.

  • Eddie Sammon 31st May '15 - 8:29pm

    Thanks ChrisB. I am sure I will “chin up”. :). It is good to be reminded that many people feel disillusioned with the political parties at times.

  • @TCO: Not “Schosstruppen,” Stoßtruppen; also Sturmtruppen, Sturmsoldaten, and other compounds with Sturm-.

    I’m sure, however, that the word “Stormtrooper” is more evocative of the Nazi Sturmabteilung thugs of the interwar period than it is of anything related to World War I or earlier; though by now the Star Wars reference is most likely more familiar than either.

  • In 2010 I “thought” I was voting for “a new progressive liberal movement of change across the country”. And then Mr Clegg and Baroness Williams joined forces with Mr Lansley (my then MP). The rest is history in that we now have the private healthcare outfits moving into the NHS. Is that “progressive”?

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st May '15 - 10:59pm

    A Social Liberal 31st May ’15 – 7:23pm
    “No John, they are a take off of the elite soldiers of the galactic empire.”

    Hmm, ‘Return of the Preamblers’ is not entirely out of place for those who tread the alternative path then 🙂

  • Peter Bancroft 1st Jun '15 - 1:38am

    DaveN, as I’m sure you’re aware the rate of involvement of the private sector in the NHS didn’t increase during the last Parliament – Indeed the percent growth slowed down considerably. If you really think that ensuring the NHS uses only privately sourced drugs, materials and buildings but not services is more important than quality you need to blame Labour who started it all.

    Such a lazy attack on a Lib Dem discussion about our future leader shouldn’t be left unanswered.

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