On today’s Andrew Marr show, Tim Farron finally laid to rest the question of equidistance that has haunted Liberal Leaders for as long as I can remember. With absolute certainty that his response would be understood Tim defined Labour in Liberal terms, they are authoritarian.
That is why people like Tim and I, born of low paid working class parents who had to work hard to put food on the table and clothes on our backs, and for whom love and time and plenty of parental attention were how to raise a child, have found a home in the Liberal Democrats.
Yes, our party has its academics and its wealthy supporters (more and more as time goes on) but we are in reality the party of the ordinary person. We judge people by what they do, not who they are, and we give people the space to say things their own way, to argue their case and to show leadership from the front line.
Our policies are made not by our leaders, but by our members. Our local community teams decide who we will nominate to represent our communities, and those people represent their communities as Liberal Democrats, they are not the Party’s representatives to the community.
Over my 26 years as a Liberal Democrat we have had many slogans and sound bites, but there is one that rings as true today as it did when I first set out to deliver that first focus on that wet November morning in 1987.
”Put people first!”
The state isn’t there to govern over the people, it is there to enable the people to live free and fulfilling lives, so long as they are not restricting the freedom of others.
Liberalism is not just a word, or a party, it is a creed and a philosophy that rings true throughout the ages.
Liberalism secures our freedom of association, our freedom of movement and our freedom of thought. Liberalism is the right to be ourselves, not matter who or what we are and above all it is the right to disagree.