On Friday at conference, there was a motion on youth unemployment in which I had submitted an amendment. That meant I had to move it. I’d asked Allan MacBain of my local party to summate the motion as he was the man who inspired me to write the amendment on the drive back from our recent local party meeting.
I had managed to talk to Jo Swinson and Jim Hume about my amendment before the debate. Jo Swinson was really supportive and said she’d be cheering me on, sadly though she was kept in a meeting and missed the start of the debate so didn’t see me speak.
Slightly relieved though, having an MP and Scottish Deputy leader in the audience might have made me even more nervous than I was. I’m quite glad that the hall was almost empty for my speech.
The amendment itself defined the problems that we young people face i.e. entering the job and setting up our business.
I’ve become sick of the Labservative language on youth unemployment. My generation doesn’t have to be lost. We aren’t cogs in a machine. We don’t have to be slaves of other people being the entrepreneurs.
My generation can shape our own destiny. We can go out there and create work for ourselves and be the wealth creators of today and tomorrow.
But we more than possibly any other generation need the help and the support in order to be able to do that. We aren’t experienced. We may not have the confidence or skills that we need in order to do shape our own destinies.
I, myself would like to start my own business but lack confidence. Oh and the fear, the crippling fear and self-doubt is holding me back.
There are times when I know I can do it. I rationally believe there is nothing stopping me other than myself. I don’t want to be my own worst enemy. In ten, twenty years time, I don’t want to be saying “if only I had done this or if only I’d had the self-confidence that I do now, I’d have achieved x”
But I don’t know how to overcome this. I need help. I’m sure there are other young people like me up and down the country.
I wasn’t quite that articulate or perhaps coherent in my speech. It is so much easier to blog than it is to get up on stage and speak.
Thankfully, Allan gave a fantastic speech to summate.
The amendment passed, and I saw Danny Alexander, Tavish Scott, Jim Hume and Jo Swinson vote for it and I think I saw Liam MacArthur vote for it as well.
I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to affect party policy.
Something that is impossible in the Labour and the Conservative parties.
Over the last week a number of groups have been created in the Liberal Democrats, Liberal Left and Liberal Reform.
My take on groups or wings of the party is best summed up by what Nick Clegg said in a conference speech in Sheffield.
Liberal Left seem to be picking for a fight. They oppose the coalition and their stated ideology is social liberal/social democratic. They seem to want to pick a fight with what they call the Orange Book right-wing liberals leading the party.
I haven’t read the Orange Book so I don’t know if I’m an Orange Booker or not. What I do know though is that the Orange Book had contributions from many on the left of the party including Vince Cable, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey. The Orange Book was intended to spark debate amongst the party, but all it did seemingly is spark factions.
Factions destroy parties, look at Labour, with their Blairites and their Brownites or even in the 80s when the gang of four broke away from Labour. Or look to our right, the Conservative’s are being torn apart over Europe.
Factions are bad because when people put themselves into a box of “I’m an Orange Booker” or “I’m a social liberal” or “I’m a Liberal Left” etc. it creates a sense of belonging and an idea that the rest of the party, the other factions aren’t good and need to be destroyed for the sake of the party. That destroys the pluralism which the Liberal Democrats stand for.
Liberal Reform, from what I’ve read, rather than creating a faction, is generally a place for Liberal Democrats of all persuasions to generate ideas for debate and to make sure the Liberal Democrats remain the party of radical ideas. They seem genuinely open to working with others within the Liberal Democrats, to change the ideas and policies within the party.
Liberal reform, seem to be the more pluralistic of the two new groups.
We have to remember what Nick Clegg said in Sheffield.
We are not on the left, we are not on the right, we have our own label Liberal!
If we remember that, in the face of adversity, we’ll keep our heads, and survive to fight another election.
Dear Daniel Radcliffe,
I’ve watched you grow up on screen. I grew up alongside you and Harry Potter.
I’ve seen numerous articles and quotes from you that hint at your deeply liberal philosophy.
When I read the article in the Guardian taking extracts from your interview with Attitude magazine out tomorrow, I was surprised as you seem incredibly liberal, that you were dropping your support for the Liberal Democrats. Even in the interview extracts you seem very liberal.
I was perplexed at why you were dropping your support from the LibDems. You say:
I was initially supportive. For me it was good that the Lib Dems would be fighting our corner. But he has become a whipping boy and it seems to me that he has been totally used by the Tories – anything they don’t want badly reflected on them they reflect on to him.
The reason why you are dropping your support, is not because you don’t like the LibDems fighting our corner in government. In the interview I gather you cite a number of good things the LibDems have done in government. But you think the PR is wrong.
The reason that your dropping your support, is not because you no longer believe in liberalism or that the LibDems aren’t doing good things in government but because the Tories are using Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats as human shields for policies that the Tories don’t want to be blamed for. And the media are lapping it up.
That is entirely the wrong reason. Someone with your influence, is capable of blowing the whole thing open and showing people that actually the LibDems aren’t to blame for x, y or z policies but the Tories.
As for thinking Ed Miliband is genuine. Ha. He’s got you wrapped round his little finger hasn’t he. Ed Miliband hops on to every bandwagon going and hops back off when it suits.
He came into the hacking scandal only when it became an issue that people cared about, hoping for a few extra opinion polling points, he hopped on the energy bills are too high when it became an issue in the papers, even though 18 months ago, he was in charge of that department. He hopped on to “responsible capitalism” and started attacking big bonuses when it became popular. Labour let bonuses get out of control whilst they were in government.
If Ed Miliband has a genuine belief in anything other than power and how to rip off the poor, whilst making them believe you’ll stand up for them, I’ll eat my hat.
If you believe in liberalism, if you want to make a positive difference. Then support the party that believes that. That party will always and forever be the Liberal Democrats.
I wanted to thank Tom Harris MP on twitter for bringing this to my attention.
The original tweets:
Now David Berry was the SNPs candidate in East Lothian in May last year. Yes, he was the guy who almost knocked the then Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray out of parliament.
What angers me about Berry’s comment is that the SNP still seem to think that the only people who want to see Scotland do well is them. That somehow wanting to be part of a union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland is somehow betraying Scotland. Its the same with the eurosceptics, that somehow if you are pro-EU, you are betraying the UK.
I know many nationalist will consider me a unionist because I think that we are stronger together and weaker apart. I believe in a Union, I do not believe in the current Union. I hate some of the arguments coming out of the coalition government and a lot of Labour heads as well. I hate the argument about economic benefits.
The SNP are incapable of grasping the idea that people of Scotland no matter their political views are all 100% loyal to Scotland. Everybody in Scotland wants to see Scotland fly.
The SNP love to talk about Unionists talking down Scotland but the real people who talk Scotland down are the nationalists. The SNP talk down the UK government without realising that to talk down the UK government is to talk Scotland down. To talk down Northern Ireland is to talk down Scotland. To talk down Wales is to talk down Scotland. To talk down England is to talk down Scotland. To talk down the EU is to talk down Scotland.
The UK is a team and to talk down one player is to talk down the whole team. We can criticise the UK government, we can challenge them but to talk them down is to talk us down as well.
I recently watched the movie Miracle(2004). Inspirational movie. Highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it. The one thing it teaches and shows incredibly clear that if your thinking about yourself and not about the team, then you can’t be great. To me, it shows the dangers of being divisive. If you harbour rivalries, if you have an us vs them attitude then you can never be great.
The thing the nationalists are great at is creating this Scotland vs the rest of the UK attitude. They are great at creating a rivalry along an abstract border. The SNP are great at talking about the sovereignty of the Scottish people and about this nation called Scotland but what is a nation? Shared culture, shared language, shared history? Cumbria used to be part of the Kingdom of Scotland should we allow them to become part of Scotland again? I’m from Strathclyde which used to be a Kingdom, which means it was once a sovereign nation. What if in an independent Scotland, I don’t fancy being run by holyrood? I want to have more powers for Strathclyde. I don’t feel I have that much in common with the east coasters or the highlanders so can Strathclyde become an independent nation?
Nationalists use abstract concepts of nationhood to divide and weaken countries. The SNP love to blame Westminster for Scotland’s ills but Westminster hasn’t just failed Scotland but the whole of the UK. We need to devolve power away from Westminster and in my opinion devolve some up towards Westminster so that we can build a country of individuals, but we can also build a team from the centre as well.
In my opinion, the only party that can deliver on this is a Liberal Democrat one, which is why I want to see a LibDem majority government in Westminster in 2015 and a LibDem-led/majority government in Scotland in 2016.
The New Statesman yesterday published an article saying that Miliband’s speech where he told the nation he was “ripping up the rule book” set the agenda at party conference this season.
My problem though with Ed’s ripping up of the rule book is that he is really doing no such thing.
Ed is turning to a rather old playbook, one in recent times that is often ignored. That is the liberal playbook.
Ripping up the rule book might not be play 1 in our playbook but it is certainly within the top 10.
The “something for something” and the “no fast buck” new rule that Ed is trying to introduce and create policies for is Vince Cable’s responsible capitalism. Its based on that liberal principle of self interest is your best interest and the best interests of the group as a whole. Meaning that if you go for the “fast buck”, your taking away from the interests as a whole and eventually the society comes crumbling down with you at the centre.
The misguided “predator” and “producer” is effectively just business ethics which again comes down to responsible capitalism.
Considering George Osborne in his speech took a leaf out of our liberal playbook, I think we need to start taking a sneak peek at their playbook so that we can nudge both Labour and the Tories out of our liberal patch.
If we can muscle Labour and the Tories out of the liberal centre ground, then liberalism can rise from the ashes to form a majority government in 2015.
Hain gave this speech to Labour conference. At the end, he brought up Nick Clegg’s apparent attack on Trade Unionism.
This is what Hain said:
And let me say this to Nick Clegg who last week attacked our Party’s link with 3 million trade unionists just as his Tory master David Cameron will do next week.
Ten days ago who was there at the very start for the trapped Welsh miners?
The South Wales National Union of Mineworkers.
Who is now looking after their traumatised families?
Trade unionism is vital in any society and we are proud of our union link.
This is Clegg’s apparent attack on Trade Unionism in his speech to Conference last Wednesday:
And today Labour is in hock to the trade union barons. After their government stipend, 95% of Labour’s money comes from unions. Most of it from just four of them. Let me be clear: The values of trade unionism are as relevant as ever. Supporting workers. Fighting for fairness at work. But I don’t think the unions should be able to buy themselves a political party. Ed Miliband says he wants to loosen the ties between Labour and the union barons who helped him beat his brother. Let’s see him put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see if he’ll support radical reform of party funding. Every previous attempt has been blocked by the vested interests in the other two parties.
Hain thinks this is an attack on the trade unions.
Its an attack on Labour being a party of vested interests.
Nick clearly states that the values of trade unionism are as important as ever – that includes the NUM doing everything they could to help the trapped miners from the start and doing everything to help their families now.
What Nick attacked was the trade unions buying themselves a party, which they have done and are doing considering 95% of Labour’s money comes from Trade Unions.
The labour party would become bankrupt if it wasn’t for the trade unions, therefore it would be easy for them to influence and control your policies.
You cannot govern in the national interest, if you are a party of vested interests. It doesn’t matter what that vested interest is, or how valuable that vested interested is.
The national interest is only served when vested interests are balanced.
That’s what Nick Clegg was saying. Its a shame that Peter Hain and Labour can’t understand that.