I’ve been quiet about Liberal Left, so now the dust has settled a bit, I’ll wade in.
I support their right to exist.
Lets make it clear. As the smallest of the three main parties, the Lib Dems have to have relations with parties on all sides of the political spectrum, and the coalition with the tories has not helped relations with those parties traditionally of the left of British politics. As a party of the centre, this isn’t a good thing and we need to rebuild those links. Liberal Left are in an ideal place to do that.
I remain a critical supporter of the Coalition Government
Going into government was vital for us as a party. We’ve learned a lot, and we’ve proved the value of coalition politics. We’re also getting some of our policies enacted. However it’s not all been good. We (as in our parliamentary party) lost sight of some important issues on the way. Tuition fees and the NHS to name but two.
I want to hear what they have to say
In any debate, you should listen to all sides of the argument. So I will be attending their fringe at Spring Conference. I suspect as a Social Liberal, I’m going to agree with Liberal Left more than I agree with Economic Liberals, however as I said to a friend of mine. I sit on the fence and listen to the debate so much, I have a backside full of splinters. I do this so when I make a move and nail my colours to a mast, I do so in full possession of all the facts.
I dislike stifling the debate
Others within the party have already done so, resorting to name calling, and accusations of divisiveness and even telling Liberal Left members that their “Labour Membership card is in the post”. Yet by their own actions THEY are the ones who are causing the splits. We’re a party with a very wide political spectrum. Some of us are justifiably unhappy with the direction the party is taking right now. Everyone has a right to be heard. We’re a party that holds internal democracy as a core value, and while Liberal Left may not be coalition supporters, I doubt they are calling for an immediate election.
There appears to be a lot of overlap with the Social Liberal Forum
This is no bad thing, and I’m sure on issues of commonality they’ll work together.
So there you have it. Good Luck to Liberal Left and good on you for re-igniting the debate. Lets keep it civil and respectful.
EDIT: as I was blogging this it appears that Spidey beat me to it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like this.