My original blog was hurried as I have also been enjoying the delights of the Bavarian winter! But since Jeremy has given me permission to reproduce his email to colleagues, I thought it was important to include this. I honestly believe that if our leadership do not listen to him and others, like Richard Huzzey, we are facing a bleak future. The sad thing is that people like Jeremy become so much part of our furniture that we take them for granted - can you imagine a conference without him? For me he has always been an encouraging smile or comment at conference, someone who I know absolutely sings from the same hymn sheet and he is hardly someone who would have the same accolade as me for being "that troublemaker" or worse!
Jeremy's email in full:
I am writing to you as one of my Lib Dem friends to explain why I am leaving the party. However, I do hope friendship will transcend party affiliation!
I am writing to let you know I have just cancelled my membership of the Liberal Democrats after 30 years (Lib Dems and formerly SDP). This has been a difficult decision for me not least because I have many good friends within the party – and I wish you all well.
I have come to the conclusion that the Social Democrat wing of the party (now more usually referred to as Social / Liberal) is not represented by the leadership of the party. I do not find the party's previous commitment to 'social justice' and greater equality is represented by our government Ministers - and I have written to Nick Clegg saying just that!
The key policies area that I do not accept are being promoted effectively by our Lib Dem Minister are:
I personally am committed to grass roots local community politics – so I consider all of the above is of key importance.
I do wish you well for the future,
All best wishes,
I am well aware that there are many in our party who are perfectly content with the current arrangement and I understand that, if I was on the right of the party I would also no doubt be delighted. But, we are first and foremost a social liberal party - our policy reflects that - and we neglect that position at our peril. To be perfectly frank I am beginning to wonder if a "two state" solution is the best option? As in the Netherlands, maybe a D66/VVD type split is the only answer to ensure that liberalism in one form or another survives. At the moment it feels like when a couple continually papers over the cracks in order to save a relationship when ultimately everyone knows their relationship is doomed. So am I being unduly pessimistic? Should I be buoyed up by Nick Clegg's enthusiasm for the project and Simon Hughes' insistence that without us in government things would be much worse? Well, like Jeremy, I am finding it increasingly difficult to deal with. As I said yesterday, I am not about to take flight (sorry!) I think our party is still worth fighting for, so frankly even if it's a fight to the death.........I'm still in it to win it and I hope Jeremy and others who feel like us may think the potential gain is worth the current pain.