Monday, October 20, 2014


Liberal Mondays 10a: Liz Lynne’s What the Liberal Democrats Stand For #LibDemValues

Ten days ago I emailed all four of the declared contenders to be the next Liberal Democrat President with questions (below) about their personal political philosophy and our shared Lib Dem values, to be published today. I received Liz Lynne’s answers last week, and here they are now.

The Liberal Democrats exist to build a society where everyone has equality of opportunity, regardless of their background, gender, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

We believe everyone has the right to be themselves and we work to make sure that no one is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

I believe passionately that we are the only party who genuinely want to stand up for people who can't stand up for themselves. People who don't have a voice. That is why I became a Liberal and then a Liberal Democrat to change the lives of people, to work to make sure they have somewhere to live, ability to work, a decent healthcare system, a good education for all regardless of background and a fair social security system so that if they are unable to work they are not pushed into poverty. Everyone should have the right to be who they are without anyone trying to change them. Genuine tolerance of all who do not have the same beliefs as ours.

That is why I am proud of what we have achieved in Government. Turning the economy around, taking people out of tax at the bottom, raising pensions by at least 2.5% and putting the triple lock in, the pupil premium, a massive increase in apprenticeships, equal marriage, protecting peoples civil liberties. We have achieved a great deal but we could have achieved a great deal more if we had been governing by ourselves. We still have a long way to go before we have created a fair society and a stronger economy but by voting for us you will ensure that you will have people who are working towards that goal.

My Questions As Sent

I have two related questions for you. Both are more concerned with politics than process. One is after a short two-pronged answer from the heart – had I been able to come to Conference, I would have preferred to put you on the spot with it in person to hear what you instinctively believe. The other question is asking you to come up with a longer, more thoughtful answer on our values that you’d be happy having the whole party say (as if anyone could ever persuade us to stick to one hymn-sheet).

Question One: What You Believe

People say all politicians are the same. It’s hardest for us in Coalition, but there’s some truth in it when every party promises to give money to the low-paid and the NHS, or when every local candidate for every party talks about experience, hard work and listening to local people. So what really motivates you? What for you makes the Lib Dems different from any other party?

If someone asked you on the doorstep, the hustings or on TV to sum up in one or two sentences what the Lib Dems, uniquely, stand for – and then why anyone should vote for us – what are your answers?

Past answerers include Presidential contenders and London Mayoral candidates.

Question Two: What the Lib Dems Stand For

Looking for something that’s more than a slogan or a soundbite but short enough to get in one go, imagine this answer as about one minute of a speech, or a box on a leaflet (perhaps 150-200 words, but that’s up to you). As you will be the voice of the Party if elected, can come up with something you think every party member could be happy saying or printing to explain What the Lib Dems Stand For? Something to enthuse and inspire Lib Dem believers and at the same time to attract and persuade potential supporters?

How would you link what makes us different, our philosophy, to what we’ve achieved in government, and what we want to do next? However you want to put that together, as specific or as thematic as you like.

I start this as a meme that many other Lib Dems have answered over the past couple of years (if I ever get a wide enough selection in, I might publish a book of them!). If you want to see more about what that’s involved, here’s my own latest version, including links to where I’ve printed other Lib Dems’ ideas.

Best of luck to each of you.

I had also spent some time trying to think of a ‘nasty’ question individually tailored to each of you – which I did for the last set of Presidential candidates and, going back further, for Nick and Chris in 2007. You may be relieved to read that I’ve decided not to ask those this time as I was unable to construct nasty questions of equal balance: the best I could think of for one of you was much too gentle, and for another of you, too bare-knuckle brutal. So that’s your lot from me!

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