Monday 11 May 2015

Guest Blog - A Liberal voice is needed now more than ever before by Alasdair Hill

By Alasdair Hill,
There is no denying how disappointing the results of the election are to the Liberal Democrats locally and nationally; we have been completely routed. The drive to better the whole country and stabilise a fragile economy in 2010 was, and remains, a genuine desire.  I am proud of the fact that we have lifted millions out of income tax, increased education funding for the poorest children and legalised same-sex marriage.

In Hendon I fought an honest battle on education and community cohesion; highlighting my Save Barnet Libraries campaign and credentials working in the state sector. Yet it increasingly seems that national issues dominated the final decisions the electorate made in the polling booth. Much has been said, on this blog and elsewhere, how Liberal Democrat voters switched to the Tories. I broadly agree that it seems “the better the devil you know” played its part in this swing. Likewise the often tribal rhetoric from Labour about the Lib Dems may have turned them off Labour. Indeed the distaste of partisan politics is what often attracts people to the Lib Dems in the first place. However this election has been unique in that there was a real merry-go-round of voter movement that is very hard to read. It is possible that, with talk of coalitions dominating, Lib Dem voters plugged for the larger party they felt comfortable with, anticipating there would be enough Lib Dem MPs elsewhere to play a part in government.

My deepest worry from this election is the rise of Nationalism. It is truly an ugly politics. The SNP are divisive; fighting for one group of people instead of for the common good of all the country. It was right to highlight this but it was wrong to use it as a way to stoke up English Nationalism. In the dying days of the campaign this is what the Conservatives did. The result? A House of Commons filled with the politics of grievance and fear. We face five years of bickering between nations whilst our liberty is slowly eroded. Liberalism and the values of tolerance, opportunity and decency are deeply British. Now, more than ever, we need a Liberal voice in politics.

And this message is being heeded. Over the weekend our membership has soared. In Barnet there has been a 25% rise in members as people who share my values of liberty, opportunity and decency pin their colours to the mast. In this period of reflection the Liberal Democrats remain dedicated to a fairer society, a fairer voting system and ensuring people of all background have the same opportunities in life.

As for me? I will not be returning to anonymity. I will continue to fight for a fairer and decent Barnet. My success with galvanising the entire community into campaigning to keep our libraries open is just the start; I will continue to put pressure on the Council to ensure we have these essential social assets available to all. Barnet is bereft of decent and compassionate politics. We have a Tory party hell-bent on eroding public services whilst filling our land with luxury developments. We have a Labour opposition too inept to even put forward an alternative Budget. We deserve better. Over the coming months and years I and the revitalised Liberal Democrats will fight for more school places, a viable library service and a cohesive, green and fair Barnet for all its citizens. I look forward to speaking to you all.
Editors Note:
The Barnet Eye has invited representatives of all the main parties to submit guest blogs detailing their experiences and views of the General Election. Please note this is purely for the interest of the readership and fairness. Publication of such blogs does not imply endorsement of the views contained.

Many thanks to Alsdair Hill for the submission. Guest blogs relevant to the London Borough of Barnet are always welcome. 


Anonymous said...

"My deepest worry from this election is the rise of Nationalism. It is truly an ugly politics. The SNP are divisive"

You do know the nations that made up Britain before it became Greater Britain? So why is it divisive for Scotland to go it's own way? You expecting a Civil war on the scale of Ukraine? Strikes me you Lib Dems are just as much the scaremonger as a loony Tory.

"I and the revitalised Liberal Democrats" Former Labour member Jack Cohen on his own???

Rog T said...

Can I suggest you buy a dictionary and look up "divisive". By definition anything which seeks to divide something is divisive.

Anonymous said...

Correct by definition it is, but not seeking to divide it into two Britain's. The SNP is seeking Independence to be their own nation (like some of he colonies that booted out Great Britain) One Scotland and one Britain, not Great like it was before the Treaty that Scotland signed. Now it wishes to Un-treaty or does Little Britain not grab you?