Opinion: Here’s to our fallen comrades

Nearly two weeks have passed since the general election and while much has been analysed in reaction to that fateful day, as the party looks to turn a corner, it is also worth looking back and mentioning all of those good Liberal Democrats now out of office.

The election of 2015 will leave its mark in history for being the election of political scalps. Countless big names lost their jobs while the press looked on in disbelief as three leaders resigned all within a couple of hours of one another (and one even reinstated himself!). However we must also reflect on the loss of a large number of Liberal Democrats and their backroom teams whom the country will sourly miss. From Charles Kennedy in the North of Scotland to David Laws in the South West, Britain has lost many a servant to liberalism and the remaining eight MPs must shout louder than ever to have their voice heard.

On a personal level, I was fortunate enough to have played a small part in my local MP Michael Moore’s election campaign although as with many of our great Lib Dem MPs, I was bitterly disappointed that it would be his last. Michael has represented the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire fantastically over his 18 years as MP and will be sorely missed. His work on a local, national and international level is a reflection of the hard work many of our representatives have put in over the years. For not only did the Borders MP fight to keep businesses in the area afloat, but he also played a huge hand in setting up the Scottish referendum on independence and respecting it as a democratic process before finally passing a hugely commendable bill towards the end of his tenure which will enshrine the amount of foreign aid the UK gives in law and thus greatly assists international development through cooperation abroad. It is perhaps testimony to Mr Moore that since the election I have countless times heard tributes to him and how his loss of office is not in any part due to his work ethic, but due to the misfortune of national political circumstance: a sentiment that will no doubt be echoed across the country.

One of the few merits of the first past the post system has been a strong link between our members of parliament and the constituencies in which they serve. Away from the clamour of coalition government were 50 odd Lib Dem MPs who represented their areas well and honoured this historic link. I fear that we may look back on our local champions with an increasing feeling of loss as this relationship has been cast aside in many cases, particularly north of the border where the election of screes of faceless SNP MPs will put such a link to test over the next five years.

So here’s to our lost comrades who have served us all so well and without whom the flame of liberalism and the standing of British politics have been lessened.

* Mark Johnson is a politics student at Stirling University and a new party member

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5 Comments

  • A Social Liberal 21st May '15 - 8:16pm

    I’m sorry but as a former soldier I have to disagree with some of the language used. The MPs who lost their seats are not fallen, or lost. Their loved ones will see them at tea time on their return from work, will hold them in their arms, will still have the comfort of their presence. This is not true of the fallen comrades our soldiers (and the loved ones of the dead) have lost. They are gone forever, to be seen only in dreams and photos.

    I know that this is not an attempt at equivocation but is, most probably, attempting a metaphor. However I know that using such metaphors is upsetting to many of those who have served, and lost mates. I am not going to castigate given that the article was written in good faith, but rather ask to consider the language used because to many in HM Armed Forces community, it does matter!

  • Tony Dawson 21st May '15 - 9:04pm

    “the misfortune of national political circumstance”

    A strange phrase indeed. This makes it out to be some kind of natural disaster or pestilence over which our individual MPs had no control. The massive electoral demise was as predictable (and well-predicted) as ‘eggs is eggs’. The only potential variable was the scale of the losses – the clear reasons behind them made them pretty inevitable . Michael Moore must bear responsibility, like most of the rest of the 2010-2015 parliamentary party, in that he preferred wishful thinking to confronting those driving us further down the road to ruin.

  • SIMON BANKS 22nd May '15 - 8:29pm

    Tony is harsh on Michael Moore. Yes, all MPs except John Pugh , Andrew George, Julian Huppert and Adrian Sanders went along with more than they should have, but at local and national level we’ve learnt the importance of party discipline. Michael had an important job which he did well and rebelling would have stopped him doing it. It wasn’t just the MPs who far too willingly accepted that there would be no change of direction: all party members share in that. We are a democratic party.

  • A series on LDV covering each of our former MPs – a review of what they achieved and a tribute to what they did with their time in the House of Commons would be something I would really value. Especially people like Alan Beith who were in Parliament longer than I have been alive.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '15 - 11:33am

    that’s a good idea, Richard.

    Want to kick us off?

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