Saturday, February 03, 2007

Steve Webb Rules OK!

Just back from a day contemplating the manifesto with my fellow FPCers. Well, managed to get them agree to "No New Trident" as a campaign theme! (No sorry, just teasing, did get three votes but have to confess two of them were mine!)
I have to say how impressive Steve Webb is and how fortunate we are to have him heading up the development of our manifesto. I don't think there is anyone else in our parliamentary team who has the sharpness of intellect combined with awesome organisational, people and listening skills to be able to do such a good job. I feel totally confident that with Steve at the helm we will end up with a manifesto which is clear, focussed and radical enough to engage with the electorate............go Steve!
I very much appreciate the fact that we have employed web technology to enable the membership to be fully involved in the process. The stark fact is that at senior levels, as a party we still lack the diversity necessary to ensure we truly reflect today's Britain. We have a real opportunity to demonstrate what differentiates us from the other two main parties, we must do so.

I am sure, like many of us, I have to deal with the constant doorstep whine..."you are all the same". The fact is we are not all the same. I would like to think that with a Liberal Democrat government, we would not have gone to war in Iraq, our teachers, police officers, nurses et al would not be drowning in a sea of unnecessary paperwork, our children would have more chance of getting education appropriate to their needs; our prisons would not be bursting at the seams and those who did inhabit them would have more chance of breaking out of the cycle of crime through meaningful treatment for mental illness and drug dependency and proper education; our older citizens would have the care they needed without worrying about the cost and our students would not be leaving university burdened with debt; local people would be and feel more involved in having a say in the decisions which affected their lives..............and we would all be able to stand outside the mother of parliaments shouting the odds if we so wished with no fear of being arrested. I could go on, but you get the picture. There is a huge and frankly quite daunting mountain to climb to get our message across to the British people. But we can and we will do it. I hope we will have the courage to do so with panache and aplomb.......(sorry that is such an old fashioned word, but one which my CO used to descibe my behaviour when I was a squaddie!)

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