Thursday, July 18, 2013

Charlotte Henry and Comrade Richard Grayson

In the first post in the new Golden Dozen Charlotte Henry celebrates “Comrade” Richard Grayson’s decision to leave the Liberal Democrats.

After inveighing against “leading lefties” and “Socialist Liberal Forumistas”, she concludes:
“With another leading light of the the (sic.) Lib Dem social democratic left gone, the rest of us can get on with getting liberals elected to make the country fairer and freer.”
Perhaps this post was just a clumsy attempt at humour, but I fundamentally disagree with its reasoning.

Successful political parties bring together people and interest groups with divergent or even blatantly contradictory goals and interests. Unsuccessful parties tend to be interested in doctrinal purity, but I do not think Michael Foot’s Labour or Iain Duncan Smith’s Conservatives are a promising model for us to follow.

That is why, though his social democrat politics are not my own, I was sorry to see Richard Grayson leave the Liberal Democrats.

I share Charlotte’s wish to see the Liberal Democrats putting liberal policies into practice, but I believe this goal is more likely to be reached by bringing new people into the party than by encouraging existing members to leave.

A wise man once said that when two people violently disagree it can be because there is a false premise they hold in common.

I suspect something like that is happening here, with both Richard and Charlotte too worried about the total value of public spending when there are many more important questions to answer. What is it spent on? Where is it spent? And who gets to decide?

No comments: