Thursday, March 01, 2007

Guns or Roses................

I got a bit of a ticking off earlier from my pal, star of stage and Guardian, Colin Ross for using the word "battle" to describe the Trident debate on Saturday. Sorry Col, my problem is that at heart I am an old soldier! So, I have to confess to always relishing a "fight", precisely because if my beliefs and values mean anything they are worth fighting for.

Now, as a Liberal Democrat I have some experience of losing (!) and as a bit of a "lefty" in the party I have had the same experience at conference too it has to be said...........However, whatever the outcome on Saturday morning in Harrogate, whether we encounter rose strewn paths or blood on the carpet, we have an opportunity to showcase the fact that we are the only one of the three main parties who actually trusts our membership to make policy. This isn't just important for us, it is important for democracy in this country. An increasingly centralised state, with party leaders increasingly controlling policy development undermines the very people - volunteers - who enabled them to attain their positions in the first place. If party activists are disaffected, what hope the general population?

So, my hope is that we will have a lively and robust debate, conducted in an adult and responsible way, that people will feel able to vote according to what they believe and that ultimately we will be all the stronger for it. There has been a lot of anger generated already, the latest being around the apparent attempt to whip PPC's (have you ever heard the like?!), I trust that anger will not spill over into the conference chamber, if it does we will all be the expriest, if I start shouting the odds you have my permission to shoot me (metaphorically of course!)

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