I have already had a little flak on Twitter following the Guardian article this morning. Being unable to explain myself in less than 140 characters..........(why use 1 character when 100 will do??!) I decided to resort to my blog. I have made no secret of my despair about the coalition, despair that has only deepened and widened as each day it seems another Liberal Democrat value is demolished and replaced with a realignment of our values to be more Toryesque. Yesterday being a case in point, the suggestion that the wonderful Matthew Oakeshott had to go because he had spoken against Lib Dem policy - er no - it was COALITION policy he had spoken against not Lib Dem policy and I am deeply concerned that this will happen more and more.
We know that talks are already underway with the Tories about Coalition 2 - and to be honest, when our two parties are working so closely together, it is inevitable. Those whose political instincts sit more comfortably with the Tories and are quite comfortable snuggling up in their bed, of course will want the Coalition to continue beyond the next election...........but it may not...........and some of us hope and pray it won't! The chances are we will be in the reverse situation of last year's election - and even if it isn't, we can't preach the politics of pluralism while choosing only to engage with one party. Thankfully I think Nick Clegg gets this, he is after all a pragmatist. He has been meeting with Ed Milliband and rightly so. If we win the AV referendum and move towards the possibility of PR it becomes even more important.
It seems to me that one of the problems of the current arrangement is that coalition politics sits more comfortably with a proportional electoral system. With more parties across a wider spectrum, coalitions become more comfortable - for example in the Netherlands with VVD more at ease with the right wing parties and D66 with the left. I don't think, with 68% of our party seeing themselves as on the left, it would be unjustified to suggest that as a party we would have been more comfortable with Labour, particularly under Ed Milliband who seems to get the need to liberalise his party. Be that as it may, I honestly believe that it will be political suicide if we are seen to be hitching our wagon to the Tories with no notion that we would ever get "unhitched"! And a "talk to the hand cos the face aint listening" approach to Labour is not only infantile it is stupid.
So my reasons for getting involved in this are clear. Firstly, because I love my party (and all of those of you in it, even if we don't agree on everything!) and I want to preserve it and all it stands for. Secondly because I love my fellow citizens (well most of them!) and the whole reason for me ever getting involved in politics was to change things - particularly for young people. So if I can influence ANYONE who has the potential to change things for the better and improve the life chances of our children and young people I WILL DO SO - end of!!!!! And to demonstrate the truth of that I have been speaking to one of the Tory youth advisers this very morning. I am sure there will still be some of you tut tutting - I guess my reaction has to be *whatever* you continue to do what you believe is right and I will continue to do what I believe is right. Let's never lose sight however, of our ultimate declared objective - namely to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society.......where no one should be enslaved by poverty ignorance or conformity. Yep.......that's exactly what I am seeking to do!