One further member of the Liberal Democrat Voice Roll of Honour

Earlier this month Lib Dem Voice ran a series of posts under the heading ‘Liberal Democrat Voice Roll of Honour 2013’ (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

One submission reached us too late to be included, but given that we all need to be cheered up today, we decided to share it with you.

Harold Woodman

For delivering in the Wells constituency come rain or shine. He delivers many thousands of leaflets / publications each year.

One special task that he undertakes is that prior to our MP Tessa Munt holding a surgery in a village (she has recently done her 500th surgery). Harold delivers a leaflet to each house that has details of her surgery on one side and a short political message on the other.

He can always be relied on to help out at bye-elections, and if there is an emergency letter to go out to constituents, Harold will be there stuffing envelopes, all day if need be.


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  • Waseem Khan 26th Jan '14 - 6:19pm

    Hello everyone, I hope my comment is added to this absorbing and very much necessary discussion.

    The way I see it, this whole issue is not about “freedom of speech” or “the right to offend” or whatever else. I’m going to be blunt here: true freedom of speech is a fallacy in this country, it is a concept concept that simply doesn’t exist. If freedom of speech did exist, the UKIP fellow wouldn’t have got sacked for stating that the recent floods in the UK were the fault of gay people and gay marriage. If freedom of speech did exist, Nicolas Anelka wouldn’t have been reprimanded for doing (what he perceived) to be an innocuous goal celebration, which later was compared to an inverted nazi salute which offended Jewish people. (Even though a Jewish person said it’s only offensive if done at a Jewish site and not a football match, whatever that means). If freedom of speech did exist, the cartoon depicting Barack Obama being tied to the US Congress where it indicated that it was controlled by Jews, wouldn’t have been removed (but it was, after pressure from antisemitism campaigners.) Those who have been harassing feminists and stan collymore have also been punished for exercising what they perceive to be free speech, on twitter no less. Tommy Robinson receives abuse and death threats but no media circus is made of that, as someone rightly pointed out earlier.

    Its worth mentioning that no one mentioned the bullying and abuse received by Mohammed Shafiq who figureheaded the campaign against Maajid on twitter. He was harassed by Islamaphobes, atheists, ex Muslims and the bnp. Me personally, I believe that their are extreme double standards when it comes to free speech and it is the self righteous liberals and atheists who often are guilty of these double standards. No offence to anyone here, I’ve read all the comments and the discussion has been enlightening, however why is it that it’s only known as “hate speech” which is punishable and liable to censorship, if it’s against Jews or homosexuals and celebrities? In the case of death threats, yes the majority of Muslims don’t issue these regardless of how offended by something yet our religion has been in spotlight since 9/11 with the minority always being made out to be representative of the majority to the point where this new phenomenon of “islamism” has appeared, with a minority of extreme people on BOTH sides fanning the the flames of discontent, causing whole communities to divide and bear superstitious hatred of one another. And this is not healthy for any liberal community or nation.

    This leads on nicely to my final point and I am sorry for digressing…. The cartoon. I appreciate that Majid didn’t find it offensive so shared it on twitter, but what was the purpose of him doing so, what possible good did it achieve? If you say that directly or indirectly offending a well well established minority group in Britain is permissible and should be defended and praised, then please explain the silence over Anelka and the other issues I mentioned above? Let’s just say that yes we defend Majid and his right to share this cartoon which exposed Muslims who were none the wiser before, to a cartoon strip that mocks the men they they are religiously obligated to love more than their parents, siblings and offspring…. Shouldn’t we also support the Muslim communities right to be offended and peacefully protest or issue a petition against it? I think we should, and I was one of those who signed the petition. This is no longer about free speech per se, it is political.

    Maajid and Quilliam do not represent the majority of Muslims in the UK, I say this with confidence and you can survey the main Muslim orgs and they will tell you. The petition itself and the speed at which it got signatures is evidence also. To me, Maajid’s act was as offensive as Anjem Chaudharys burning a union jack was to indigenous English people. If Quilliam was set up to “counter Extremism” it’s evident they are doing a terrible job, and the lib dems need to make their own decision whether they think Maajid Nawaaz is fit for his job, bearing in mind their own mission statement on equality which I saw copied and pasted above. The only people who gained from this whole scenario are those who want to see religion die forever. You will all have to respect the fact that 99% of Muslims don’t want that to happen, and I follow the same religion my ancestors did for decades, that too peacefully. Maybe provocation is the reason a few lose their tempers. Who knows?

    Thank you for reading.

  • Hitchadmirer 26th Jan '14 - 7:41pm

    Could I ask that everyone attempting to explain cultural sensitivities acknowledge the astonishing reAction of Shafique and denounce it with the same lengthy responses? There is a major rift here and it needs expressing – religion makes good people do bad things. There is no room for religion in politics and the sooner it is expunged from the debate the better. Then we can argue on cooking ground – that is to say rationally and without being threatened by the Ummah. Shafique knew what he was doing when he used the Arabic phrases he did. They Have no place in this party.

  • Simon Banks 26th Jan '14 - 8:34pm

    I hope Hitchadmirer doesn’t get a chance to “expunge” religion from politics. It sounds a totalitarian, intolerant mindset. If you have any understanding of religion, then unless we’re speaking of one of the religious groups that tells its adherents to take no part in politics, it’s impossible religion, like any cluster of deep beliefs, won’t affect politics. If you look at the roots of the antislavery movement in Britain, the Caribbean and the U.S.A., you find religion at its heart. If you look at the political radicalism of the Levellers, it can’t be separated from their religious radicalism. This is not to say that non-religious beliefs can’t have similar force, but to argue that there must be room in politics for all deep beliefs and value-choices to influence individual political decisions. Expunge my religion from my politics and my Liberalism goes too.

    To return to the original controversy – I’m angry about the attacks on Maajid and I support his courage. Incidentally, as a Christian I’m uneasy about the cartoon because it shows Jesus wearing the crown of thorns – imposed just before his painful death – and yet chatting in a relaxed way, which seems incongruous. That’s something I’d discuss with the originator of the cartoon. But to reproduce it to make a point about tolerance is fine. Unfortunately the response has made a point about intolerance.

  • Hitchadmirer 27th Jan '14 - 8:18am

    Simon, we can discuss aesthetics, political theory, utilitarianism, morality and climate change (virtually anything) – and agree on a common (apologies for typo) “language”. We arrive at positions informed by mutually available data – even if we disagree on interpretation. When you bring a crown of thorns and a messiah into the debate then you have me at a disadvantage. All debate is ‘off’. My intolerance is simply a plea that the Sky God ‘s edicts are kept out of public debate.
    Would Mohammed Shafique have acted the way he did were it not for his belief in a god who has seen fit to deny me an appreciation of his ultra-sensitivity?

  • hitchadmirer 9th Feb '14 - 12:03pm

    Helen, hi – apologies for the delay….I think I was looking for common ground based on a shared rational humanity – arriving “naked” as it were to any argument or discussion and unencumbered by bronze-age attitudes (please note that here I assume actual adherence to the texts – rather than post-enlightenment interpretation) . I am frustrated that I cannot move forwards as a result of “faith based” positions that, logically, cannot be challenged. My position is by contrast that I can change my mind and my beliefs.
    And the reason I have the right to mock beliefs? For this reason – Can you name me one advanced piece of legislation that was not secured through the mocking, of prior attitudes? Slavery, Female Emancipation, Sexual Equality, Trades Union Rights, Childrens Working….need I go on? Mockery is essential.
    If I came across as intolerant of religion in the public sphere (note what I said about “public debate”) then you are right. I am. But I will also support everyone’s right to hold kooky beliefs in the “private sphere”.
    Not all beliefs deserve respect or tolerance – you must know this? Surely.
    As to Muslim non-reaction. Your naivety is breathtaking – maybe you don’t live in the same (highly Islamically centred) world in which I do. Maybe you don’t take Anjem Choudray at his word when speaking for the ummah, or think that the support for Sharia amongst Muslim Youth is purely a “geo-political” response to Government policy? It’s growing…and it’s the wave that Shafik rides in order to bolster his self-made position as a community spokesperson and because his personal beliefs trump LibDem policy, philosophy and attitudes.
    Think about that when you vote him in – think about where his loyalties lie? To reason? to the LibDems or to someone who thinks that all Kuffar are destined for Hell.
    And then tell me that I don’t have the right to protect my secular, humanist world view for which so many people have suffered?
    Not very liberal now, is it etc (ad nauseam)

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