Opinion: A European manifesto of hope

Antony Hook in SE regionFor me and many other people, being a Liberal is about politics based on hope.

One of my favourite definition of hope is that it stands for “Helping Other People Evolve”.

Helping, not forcing.

Evolving, because almost everyone can see some scope for change for the better in their life.

We are not talking about forcing people to change their lives against their will.

Nor do we say, “each to their own, I’ll sort out my life and if you have no chance of a better future that is not my problem.”

Liberal leadership, based on hope, is about giving people a chance to fulfil their potential.

It is about taking down walls such as prejudice, poverty or low education that deny people a choice to change their lives.

Sometimes the state can be one of those walls.  Sometimes it can be a battering ram to knock them down.

Our manifesto for the European Elections is 50 pages of hope.  A few policies from it are:

1) Creating more jobs by extending the Single Market in services.

2) Concluding the EU-US trade agreement and other EU trade agreements which will give us more opportunities to export and more choice in what we import.

3) Supporting Horizon 2020, investing EU funds in science to fund research that will improve all our lives.

4) Create a stronger framework to deal with cross-border crime, especially crimes against children and fraud, especially by making it easier for police to obtain evidence and information cross-border.

5) Further reduce pollution by action such as requiring clearer labelling of goods to explain their energy consumption.

6) Support laws that require large companies to pay fair taxes to the countries they operate it, and not avoid it through disreputable loop holes.

7) Higher standards of food safety and animal welfare across all single market countries.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to build a bridge to the future.  For help in place of indifference.  For change in place of despair and most definitely for hope.

* Antony Hook is a Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England and has practised as a barrister since 2003.

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  • Alex Macfie 12th May '14 - 1:41pm

    I hope our MEPs (assuming we still have any after 22 May) will ensure that there is no corporate sovereignty (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) clause in any trade agreements that the EU signs. If TTIP or anyother agreement includes ISDS, then we may not be able to effectively implement many of the other manifesto commitments because foreign investors would be able to challenge any EU or national law that they did not like in an extra-legal tribunal. We must be prepared to reject any trade agreement that includes this sort of clause, as corporate sovereignty is a direct attack by foreign corporations on democracy and the rule of law.

    The manifesto also mentions the single EU patent. It is also important to recognise that in some fields (e.g. software) patents do more harm than good. I am concerned that the EU is going to repeat the same mistakes as the US, opening the floodgates to poor-quality patents, and thus to patent trolls (who are usually American). IT start-ups primarily need protection FROM patents, not protection BY patents.

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