Opinion: Bold new leadership and a united strategic front

Moat-cleaning services, tennis court repairs, the ‘flipping’ of second homes to make a profit, the claiming of mortgages that don’t exist, two BNP MEPs … all are examples which represent the negative issues within our political system that have come to a head very, very quickly over the last month. This problem however is simply the result of an underlying fault in British politics – the lack of ambition, empathy and passion for everything this country represents.

The leader of this society should be able to walk into packed football stadiums, from Stamford Bridge to Huish Park, and have everyone applaud and cheer no matter what their political affiliation, ideology or up-bringing. Of course, we are worlds away from that becoming a reality because for so long, politics in this country has been divisive, isolated and out of touch with the voters. There’s no inspiration. For those reasons, massive changes to our democratic system have to happen, not just for the sake of pressure from the media or the worry of losing votes and power, but to genuinely expand outreach to engage and energise the wider population to become more involved in the political process.

I’m personally against an immediate general election, and I believe it’s dangerous for the Conservatives and the Lib Dems to be stropping around Westminster demanding one. Voters are still extremely angry about all the revelations, and as somebody who has had a great deal of canvassing experience, I can assure you many people are either very enthusiastic about voting for certain minority parties simply to spite Parliament, or they are not going to vote at all, decreasing turnout. The consequence for the country at this point would be that the new government would not have a strong mandate to drive the reforms and fundamental change that is so desperately needed.

What should happen immediately is the election of a new Speaker, who is not in the pocket of the Government, who will invite all parties within Parliament to equally contribute to agenda and debate for all issues facing the country, including political reform. Once that kind of independent mechanism is in place, it will be much easier for voters to identify that the Liberal Democrats are most enthusiastic about pushing genuine fundamental changes. I believe the best chance there is for this to happen, is if Parliament elects Parmjit Dhanda MP the next Speaker of the House.

It’s depressing for our history as a nation that on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings, there are Nazis representing the British people in the European Parliament. It is important, now more than ever, for Parliament to send a strong message that the diversity of our culture is the backbone of our society. Not only do Mr Dhanda’s views on reform make him well positioned to hold the prestigious post, but the election of a part-Indian Speaker of the House would send perhaps the most symbolic message possible to the people, that Parliament can represent modern Britain.

As Nick Thornsby pointed out in his LDV opinion piece GriffinWatch: Exposing the BNP, we won’t defeat them by disrupting their press conferences and throwing eggs at them. They were elected through the democratic process and that is how we have to defeat them. On this particular issue, I believe the most effective strategy for doing this would be the formation of bipartisan grass-root campaigning groups in every constituency/ward throughout the UK. These groups would involve activists from the Lib Dems, Conservatives and Labour coming together to coordinate a strong message, and then going out onto the streets and doorsteps to hold the BNP to account.

This unified front is the only way for us to stop the progression of fascist politicians in Britain, and to protect a plural society and the legacy left behind by the many soldiers who fought in the Second World War.

* Kasch Wilder is Liberal Democrat activist in West Dorset, and sixth form student.

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7 Comments

  • I was quite impressed by Parmjit Dhanda unti I found out he wanted to hide details of MPs expenses.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '09 - 3:56pm


    The leader of this society should be able to walk into packed football stadiums, from Stamford Bridge to Huish Park, and have everyone applaud and cheer no matter what their political affiliation, ideology or up-bringing.

    No, we would be on our way to fascism if that were the case. Hint: fascism isn’t necessarily racist, and racism isn’t necessarily fascist.


    On this particular issue, I believe the most effective strategy for doing this would be the formation of bipartisan grass-root campaigning groups in every constituency/ward throughout the UK.

    The most effective strategy would be to have an effective answer to those who bear the brunt of coping with the downside of immigration.

    Hint – if you are rich, lenient immigration means plentiful supply of intelligent people willing to keep quiet and work for peanuts for you; if you are poor and not too bright and living in the sort of urban area immigrants tend to end up in, it means you are out-competed on most fronts and are sullen and resentful because you don’t know how to express your concern in a way that does’nt have the bien-pensants yelling “nasty dirty fascist” (and silently, “chav”) at you.

  • Stacey Riley 16th Jun '09 - 4:09pm

    I agree with the poster above.

    We need to address the issues that BNP voters are concerned with, not just dismiss them as a ‘protest vote’.

  • “Moat-cleaning services, tennis court repairs, the ‘flipping’ of second homes to make a profit, the claiming of mortgages that don’t exist, two BNP MEPs … all are examples which represent the negative issues within our political system that have come to a head very, very quickly over the last month.”

    You forgot to mention the excessive laws and regulations that our ‘mainstream’ political system has introduced, most if not all of which undermine our individual rights and freedoms.

  • The few local election results I’ve looked at from areas where Tory MPs were involved in expenses “scandals” seem to suggest that the conservatives made gains.

    I don’t think anyone can defeat the BNP execept by offering better solutions.

    Unfortunatlely, in politics, winning the argument has very little to do winning votes. Neither is using logic. Otherwise the BNP would be saying that 97% of the electorate ignored the BNP and endorsed the corrupt political parties who favour unlimited imigration and the destruction of the British way of life.

    None of the parties can muster grassroots campaigning accross a single constituency.
    So a cross party-organisation is not possible, even if it was desirable, which it isn’t.

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