The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Friday, January 06, 2006
Beyond left and right
by Alex Sweet

It seems pretty clear that Kennedy cannot and will not be allowed to appear on a ballot paper for re-election. That would be an utter disaster; our MPs will not allow it. Other outcomes are still bad, but redeemable and with a silver lining. There are questions that Kennedy would never again be able to answer as leader.

I can't understand how one could want Kennedy to continue as leader now; I also think the other MPs have not behaved badly in very difficult circumstances. I hope that we can avoid needlessly damaging division as a party, and stay focused on winning elections and advancing a liberal approach against all the other parties with a contempt of core liberties. It would be especially damaging to take this opportunity to get hot under the collar and divided over so-called economic questions. Ultimately it is impossible to imagine the party ever ditch and disavow one half or the other of what are two approaches to policy with much smaller differences of principle than people like to pretend. Guess what, we're going to end up in a place where we proclaim to be 'beyond left and right', with an array of policy based on what actually works (according to evidence rather than Blair's gut feeling), with an economic team seeking to look as credible as possible, and with a pragmatic approach to public services that avoids being in hock to producer interests but clearly differentiates us from the other parties. The press will describe certain policies as "left wing" and other policies as "Orange Book inspired" but so what.

Anyone who feels like ripping apart the party or walking off in a huff in the process of getting from here to there should consider their motives carefully.
posted by Peter Pigeon @ 10:05 am  
1 Comments:
  • At 06 January, 2006 19:27, Blogger Mark said…

    I agree that Charles Kennedy has to go. What is important is that his leaving as leader and his successor's installation happen to the highest standards of the party. We are a caring party for both the individual and collectively as a party, and we must care about Charles and his well-being as much as we do about the party.

    The illness that is alcoholism is one that creates a great deal of denial in the sufferer. What must not happen is any appearances of knives in the back, - that will destroy Liberal Democrat credibility in the eyes of the public.

    Charles has done well for the party over the years, it is now time for the party to do its bit for Chrles.

     
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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.

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