Thursday, December 11, 2014

Liberal Democrat peers should hold firm on judicial review

Caron Lindsay writes on Liberal Democrat Voice:
Senior Liberal Democrats are getting very rattled by the rebellion. I'm hearing tales of angry rows and confrontations with rebel peers being told that they are damaging our General Election chances as if being associated with a measure like this wouldn't. It sounds like peers have had the sort of pressure put on them that would make even a Labour whip from the Blair days blush.
I hope that the Lib Dem peers will continue to vote against the changes Chris Grayling wants to make to judicial review. They are right and Lib Dem MPs, with the honourable exception of Sarah Teather, are wrong.

As so often, I am left puzzling at the what the Lib Dem leadership is trying to achieve. There has been no explanation given to party members; there is nothing about judicial review in the Coalition Agreement.

The Liberal Democrats have spent years making themselves the natural party for people who support civil liberties. In 2007 Nick Clegg even vowed to go to prison rather than carry an ID card.

Now we have abandoned those voters and are looking to win the support of people who think the courts are on the side of the criminal and judges are too soft - or something like that.

At the heart of this mess, I suspect, lies the idea that a party can continually reposition itself. Find out what the voters want and start saying the same thing. If the philosophy you fought the last election on is no longer popular, then junk it.

The trouble is, this approach to politics does not work. The old voters you have abandoned, with some reason, feel let down. The new voters do not trust you.

So let's have a bit of Liberal ideology here. Lib Dem peers should hold firm.

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