Tag Archives: liberal democrat values

Ian Kearns: Why Liberal values are the answer this country needs

Ian Kearns joined the Liberal Democrats from Labour in the Summer. He gave a barnstorming speech to the rally at Federal Conference in Brighton. 

This Autumn, he has spoken at both the Yorkshire and London Regional Conferences. The speech below was the keynote speech at the Yorkshire and the Humber conference three weeks ago and Ian delivered a version of it at a fringe event at the London conference yesterday. 

The most powerful section of his speech is on what we stand for:

I’m here today because this is the party that is ready to fight the politics of division and hate, and I intend to be part of that fight.

I’m here because I know we won’t beat the extremists of left and right by mimicking their message or by defending the status quo, but only by radically extending the liberal commitment to equality of opportunity to the millions of people in our country currently denied it.

I’m here because I won’t stand idly by and watch the disaster of Brexit unfold.

We know the Leave campaign lied to the country; we know they’ve failed to deliver; and now the people must have a vote on the truth!

I’m here because our forebears didn’t see off the fascists in the last century so we could sit back and watch fascism rise again in this.

I’m here to fight for a patriotism that celebrates the divides we bridge and our achievements as a people, not for one that drives a wedge between one community or nation and another.

And I’m here because I want to look my children in the eye and know they have a good chance of a life of happiness and fulfilment in a country at peace with itself.

A country where they will be judged not by the colour of their skin, their race, religion, gender or sexuality but by the content of their character.

A country of free men and women where we all have equal rights and equal opportunities because if these rights and opportunities are denied to anyone, then none of us are truly free and our country is not truly free.

A country where politics is conducted in a civil manner, because between anarchy on the one hand, and the settlement of our political differences through violence on the other, liberal democratic politics is all there is; and the only ones who benefit from cynicism about politics are those with a vested interest in maintaining the status-quo.

I’m here too because I want my children to grow up in a country that doesn’t fear the outside world, but equips its people to go out into it, experience it in all its wonder, and work with others to shape it to humanity’s common cause.

A country where we take power out of the hands of bureaucrats in Whitehall, and put it into the hands of the people, who know what their challenges are and have good ideas on how to meet them.

A country that doesn’t fear new technology but becomes a world leading centre for the productive and ethical use of it.

And a country that was once the birthplace of the industrial revolution, seized by the climate emergency and geared up both economically and diplomatically to meet it with a new age of green revolution.

It’s powerful and inspiring stuff. Here’s the speech in full.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Scottish Conference Countdown: The values document (relevant to all Lib Dems, not just Scots)

On Saturday October 24th, the Scottish Liberal Democrats hold their Autumn Conference in Dunfermline.

One of the items under discussion will be a Values document. This is an attempt to find that elusive melody, the narrative on which all our policies are based, a statement of who we are and what we’re for.

Have a look at it here.

A lot of this isn’t Scotland specific so even if you’re not Scottish, it’s worth taking a look. What do you think of it? Here’s a summary of the main principles:

Scottish Lib Dems Values Document

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Opinion: Non-Linear Values: The Z Coordinate

Since the General Election arguments have raged over whether we, or particular people in the party, are centrist, left of centre or right of centre, and, if so, how much left or right of centre.

I think we are getting this wrong. It is not a linear issue. If I am a kind person, am I left of centre or right of centre? If I am selfish, am I left or right of centre? Why do we limit ourselves by a linear construct?

Rather than see liberal values, and the placement of Liberal Democrats on the political map, as linear, my view is we must take a non-linear perspective. Values are overarching. Promoting liberty, equality and community might sometimes involve what might be called right leaning policy, at other times left, but whether it is one or the other or neither is immaterial. What is important is whether the policy achieves liberty, equality and community. Those overarching values should be the litmus test for any policy.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

Opinion: A focus on values

 

Prior to May 11th I had not read a manifesto, been on a political party’s website or looked for sites like LibDemVoice. My exposure to politics was limited but I had always voted LibDem, mainly because LibDems always seemed to resonate with me whereas other politicians, more often than not, had me shouting at the radio.

In this election I was taken in by the politics of fear and almost changed my vote, although at the last moment I stuck with my gut feel and voted LibDem again. I sat down to see what the exit polls were saying and could not rationalise my feelings of sadness and shock when I saw what was predicted. The next morning I watched Clegg’s resignation speech and felt I had to do something.

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments

Opinion: “Values” and Party

There has been a lot written about the importance of “values”. I’m not convinced.

Talk about values reinforces the idea that one can pick and mix principles and ideas – just as with policies, one can put together a package which suits your pocket or your likes and then decide which party at any one time best meets your need to vote. Or, indeed, you can just campaign on one or two which happen to strike you as most important.

This view encourages the idea that party is an outdated concept and often inconvenient if there happen to be some bits of your party’s policies which you don’t like – which there always will be in an open and democratic community. In this world of values, party affiliations are worn loosely and are often transient. I want to proclaim the importance of both party and philosophy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Opinion: Back to the core

A little while back, like many candidates, I responded to an email from simplepolitics.co.uk and made a 30 second video to encourage people to vote  for me as a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate. It mentioned a few policy headlines, not least that we were the only party committing to provide the additional £8Bn the NHS is predicted to need by the end of the next parliament.

In seemingly no time at all, the Tories made the same promise (I am spinning this as a Liberal Democrat policy victory even before the vote). Then The Economist ran a provocative article about how the Conservatives were seeming to appeal to workers and Labour to business, in a way that showed how confused the campaign was getting. I began to have some sympathy for people I was canvassing who said they couldn’t make up their minds “because all politicians are saying the same thing”. On that logic it is especially difficult for us as we are most likely to be delivering our manifesto commitments in coalition with another party, so things that are highly distinctive are also things we might struggle to get into a coalition agreement (as happened with tuition fees last time).

I’ve found myself moving from what we will do that is different, to what are the core values that animate us. That’s not to wriggle away from policy, but is to articulate something quite fundamental that we will bring to the process of forming a new government, from which the policy ideas flow.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 4 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 10:35am
    Is it too Machiavellian to suggest that Mrs May was the 48th Tory MP to send in a letter ?
  • User AvatarAndrew Melmoth 12th Dec - 10:23am
    I hope she gets 52% of the vote.
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:15am
    That should have been "I will be out in Bedale on Saturday"!
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:14am
    I have been campaigning for a Peoples Vote and will be out in Became on Saturday morning. I don't want a Peoples Vote though because...
  • User AvatarMartin 12th Dec - 10:05am
    At any other time, a PM in this position would not be able to continue. Joe Otten's assessment that roughly three quarters of Conservative MPs...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Dec - 9:51am
    Am tempted to write, "It's the DUP, st*pid". I wouldn't like to predict this vote, but for Conservatives remaining in office is the absolute priority....