The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Monday, September 19, 2005
The Disloyal Observer Corps
By Jabez Clegg

We’re not sure whether Andrew Rawnsley is an avid reader of The Apollo Project, but his latest article shows he might well be. It chimes with many of the sentiments expressed here, and we note that Rawnsley thinks:

“These younger [Lib Dem] MPs have given up well-paid jobs and sacrificed family lives to come to Westminster. They are not prepared, as previous generations were, to settle forever for being third best. They are hungry for progress and impatient that Mr Kennedy is not leading them towards power more quickly and aggressively. They are anxious that opportunity may not knock again.”

He then goes on to conclude that:

“That will mean taking some risks. It will force them to do something they have so often avoided. They will have to decide exactly who they are. Until they do that, they will go on failing the Shut Your Eyes [and imagine this Charles Kennedy standing outside Number 10] Test.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves when we said:

“What is clear is that clever, talented, relatively young MPs like Nick Clegg did not give up promising careers to spend life in permanent opposition. They enaged in party politics to see their ideas implemented. And not just watered down, piecemeal implementation by the other two main parties, borrowing these ideas for half-hearted electoral advantage - they have a clear philosophy and coherent policy portfolio that they wish to see put before the country and implemented in its entireity.

That requires electoral success, and the Lib Dems will only make the step from Guerilla fighters at the margins of politics to mainstream political operators if they behave and think like a government in waiting.”

So one cheer to Mr Rawnsley for sensing the Zeitgeist!

Elsewhere in the issue, evergreen Lib Dem-basher Peter Hain is calling us the New Tories. Unfortunately Hain can’t decide whether we’re a threat with little credibility because we “only” got 62 MPs at the last election, or some sort of neo-liberal spectre threatening the to end the current enlightened period of New Labour government. What we say to Mr Hain is "bring it on!".

We should, of course, remember that in his earlier days Hain was a member of the Liberal Students. Perhaps this explains his attitude towards us - converts to a new faith are often the most zealous in suppressing the old. It also puts us in mind of the behaviour of Monty Python’s Brian, when told he’s not Jewish but a Roman, and we can imagine how the conversation goes when he puts his latest attack before his party leader:

TB: So next time you go on about the bloody Lib Dems, don't forget
you're one of them.
PH: [In a fit of rage as he goes up to his room.]
I'm not a Lib Dem, Tony, and I never will be. I'm a Trot, a leftie, a
pinko, a socialist, I'm right-on, Tony. I'm a red flag devotee, and
proud of it!
posted by Apollo Project @ 9:46 am  
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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


The Apollo Project seeks to put together new ideas on policies and campaigning to help broaden the appeal and enhance the impact of the Liberal Democrats.

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