John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, January 09, 2006
  Going for It!
After conversations today and yesterday with other possible candidates it is quite clear that the position at the moment is not clear.

Potential Candidates such as Simon Hughes have a short time in which to declare that they either are or are not standing.

I need 7 MP nominations. Nominations from members are already starting to flood in from across the country. If 33 MPs support Ming Campbell that leaves 29 that could nominate Simon, Mark Oaten or myself. There are some people who will nominate either Simon or myself.

What I am doing, therefore, is collecting nominations. If I get the Members support, but MPs decide they don't want me to stand then that is life.

An argument is used by some MPs that I don't have that much experience as an MP. Given that I have 15 years experience as an elected politician and 22 years experience in running my own business I find that a bit unreasonable.

Still things are going well at the moment.
 
Comments:
And what damage to those around you would emerge from you standing ? You - and they - risk being traduced in the pop press again. This wouldn't be great for the party either.

Politically it is necessary for SOMEONE to reflect, and offer members, a strongly social liberal perspective in the leadership race.

John, although I typically agree with much of what you say Simon Hughes is the man who must come forward, especially if Oaten joins the contest.

Further do you really believe you'll get the 7 parliamentary nominations required ?
 
I'd like someone to actually tell me what this difference between the so-called social and economic liberals.
Every member of this party I have met, those I have read, including those who wrote The Orange Book are social liberals in part, they all recognise the need for social liberalism.
Only one person I met had the view that social liberalism is the most important aspect of liberalism and that it should trump other forms of liberalism, everyone else I've met of the view that social, economic, political, personal and green (and probably other) liberalism are all necessary.

We need a strong economy to provide for the social liberal aims of the party and we need effective methods to deliver the aims.
We do need a debate about the exact policies, but we are all in broad agreement. I have heard no member of the Liberal Democrats call for neo-liberalism or a return to a mythical Gladstonian laissez-faire policy.

I personally want the party to simply reaffirm the liberal principles of representative government, government with the consent of the governed, limits on power, equality under the law and individual liberty.
Social Liberalism grew out of this, it is essential to this today, the party will never turn its back on it, but we do need to talk about it without recourse to any dogma be it socialist (monolithic state run services) or neo-liberal (privatised services).

The divisions in the party are not so great as some people make out. Perhaps the biggest is still that some people view the party as another wing of a centre-left progressive movement along with Labour and others (myself included) as part of a seperate Liberal tradition which can work with some of the Labour party on some things, just as it can with some Tories.

I will be voting for the person who I feel is most likely not to define ourselves in terms of the other parties, we cannot stay equidistant between two moving points, we are our own party, with our own message and our own views. We will not, as Tony Blair wants, become a Social Democratic party in the model of New Labour, simply because it runs contrary to the deepest beliefs of Liberalism, we will not become a Thatcherite party, because that too runs contrary to similarly deep beliefs.

So, enough of this stupid divide and lets elect the leader who will perform best in the media and against the opposition, who will stand firm for our party as a Liberal party and who will put those core Liberal beliefs into practice by listening to the all party members.

*grumbles*
 
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