The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A Spring in our Step
by Steve Travis

I received today my thank-you letter from the Member for Sutton & Cheam for my (modest) contribution to the election of Sir Menzies Campbell as leader. Spring might not yet be in the air, but there was a spring in my step today. There is a palpable sense of momentum about the party once again. At long last we have the prospect of a coherent policy programme. Ming's shadow appointments set a clear marker about our future direction. Predictably, there have been noises off from the usual suspects, but even this can't spoil the moment.

I would imagine I'm not alone in relishing the prospect of campaigning on the sort of programme Ming will put together. This must be in stark contrast to thousands of Tory activists, faced with having to "sell" Cameron's pale imitation of New Labour - a programme with which they have little in common. For it would be the most pyrhhic of victories for them in the (unlikely) event that the Conservatives were to be elected on such a programme.

The icing on the cake is the return of Lord Ashdown. The future's bright ...
posted by Apollo Project @ 9:50 pm  
  • At 07 March, 2006 23:00, Blogger MatGB said…

    Paddy's back. This makes me happy. Can someone tell me what he's actually doing? I mean, we know he'll be good at it, but I don't get what 'it' is. Good timing for the party, he finishes in Bos just as a team reshuffle is needed.

  • At 11 March, 2006 16:00, Anonymous Voice from the South West said…

    LOL - You really are deluding yourself if you think that Ming Campbell will lead your party to anything but backwards. I'm sure all those Tory activists are relishing the fact that their election of Cameron caused the Lib Dems to panic, sack Charlie, and see him replaced by an old, dull, and visibly frail politician who will do nothing but serve as a care-taker leader at the very best.

    Any bets as to how long Ming will last?

  • At 12 March, 2006 21:18, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm thinking 18 months to two years. The combination of age and the stress of leading a major political party perhaps will trigger ill health. Campbell will have to resign and will try and throw it to Clegg. Huhne will probably contest it.

    God know I hope i'm wrong as i'd rather Cameron faced the electoral liability that is Campbell rather than someone who can connect with Middle England Lib Dem voters.

  • At 12 March, 2006 22:21, Blogger Apollo Project said…

    South West & Anon. Rather than repsond myself, let me share with you the words of a former Conservative member:

    "The Tory Party has not only abandoned its traditional supporters but has also isolated genuine modernisers like myself who believe that spin and presentation is not a replacement for principles, and that a consistent application of values, principles and policies is essential whether promoting conservatism in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    You cannot promote equality whilst peddling “positive discrimination”.

    You cannot pledge localism and empowering local communities whilst centrally controlling candidate selection.

    You cannot promise tax-cutting in Scotland whilst demanding “sharing the proceeds of growth” in England.

    You cannot pledge to leave the EPP as part of a leadership platform then fail to deliver once in power.

    You cannot take a position on war then cynically flip-flop in a bid to win a by-election without losing face to those who hold a principled position.

    It takes some effort to isolate both traditionalists and genuine modernisers in the party, but you have succeeded.

    As a progressive conservative, I am disappointed that the hope of reform has proven little more than a confusing and insincere media exercise.

    I had hoped that the wave of goodwill the party has received from those of us desperate for real conservative values to make it to government would lead to a genuinely progressive agenda, but, unfortunately, that has not happened. I cannot be part of a cynical press project, as it debases everything I stand for.

    No-one more than me wishes that the changes in the party had been genuine and principled. Opposition to a Britain under Gordon Brown is not enough to go along with this project any longer, as real Conservatives seek a government with values, not another pr machine."

  • At 13 March, 2006 03:14, Anonymous Sunny said…

    Nice to see Ming appoint some young 'uns to the party, specially women. Though he could have gone further, its a start.

    The work for the Lib Dems has only started though, but it's a path to take right now... :)

  • At 13 March, 2006 21:45, Anonymous Sunny said…

    doh! I meant it's the right path to take...

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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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