Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Its the right way up!

I spotted that Mark Pack wrote an article on Lib Dem Voice regarding Conservative MP Nick Boles' book 'Which Way's Up?'

Its worth a read (and not only because it is very thin and can easily be read in a day!) Its fascinating because its essentially a Conservative MP setting out his arguments about why he believes the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives should form an electoral pact.

An electoral pact is not something I would want to see happen. I joined the Liberal Democrats because unlike the other main parties it has a strong democratic party structure, attracts and welcomes a diverse range of people and has principled and strong Parliamentarians. Its a party that believes in hard work and campaigning at a local and national level, with fairness really at the heart of the agenda.

But enough of this party political broadcast! What is important about this book, and what I think is important to stress when we Lib Dems are labelled as 'sell-outs' and 'unprincipled,' is that it emphasises that the Conservatives are NOT the party of the 1980's. In fact, Nick Boles identifies five key areas where policy overlaps: environment, importance of personal freedom, desire to give local communities more power, offering more opportunities to those born into poverty, and the need to kickstart the economy and revive investment and exports.

If these aren't progressive aims, then I don't know what is. Far from being a 'sell-out' this Coalition is going to give us an opportunity for many of our aims to be realised. Look no further than the Localism Bill to see that things are starting to happen. It would have been a sell-out if we had walked away from the negotiating table, or worse entered into an unstable 'rainbow' coalition with the Labour Party.

Yes, that progressive Labour party which let a housing bubble run unchecked and kept low earners languishing in the income tax bracket while spending money recklessly on quangos and needless bureaucracy. Not to mention a legally dubious invasion of Iraq.

The power and right of the individual is at the heart of this Government, and that is the central tenet of Liberalism. We definitely made the right call.

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