Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Monday 11 March 2013

My Secret Courts Pledge

Well that was a very difficult weekend.

I enjoyed Lib Dem conference itself as usual. It was good to meet up with some old friends and some new ones.

But it was terribly dispiriting to see Nick Clegg's high-handed and frankly arrogant response during his Q&A to the questions about Secret Courts. It is clear that he thinks the membership is ill-informed on the issue and that he is absolutely fine with the fact that he, his ministers and the majority of his parliamentary party have voted for such an illiberal measure.

I was gutted to see Jo Shaw resign yesterday. However I totally understand her reasons for doing so. Between you and me I have considered doing so myself. But for now I have chosen to take a different path.

At election time I get bombarded with requests to come and help MPs and PPCs. Indeed in the run up to the Eastleigh by-election I was getting daily requests for this. I did go and help out down on the south coast one Saturday and in the 2010 election I went to numerous constituencies to help our candidates out.

So here is my pledge. I refuse to help get re-elected any of our MPs who voted for the Justice and Security Bill. I will not deliver leaflets or canvass (either in person or telephone) for any of them. For PPCs this is more tricky because they weren't in the House to vote but I will discuss the issue with any who ask me to help out and I will be happy to do so if they are clear they would have voted against.

I expect the motion at conference yesterday which for the second time has made clear the party's feelings on this issue will be ignored by the leadership. But this is a two-way street. The leadership cannot do what it likes and for there to be no consequences. At least that's how I see it and this is what I intend to do from my end.

Is anyone else with me?


Anonymous said...

I don't know what the fuss is about.

The liberal democrats are not liberal, never have been in my lifetime, you just have different ideas as to what should and shouldn't be allowed compared to some of the other parties.

Unknown said...

I understand how annoyed you are about this, Mark. I am, too. The question I'd have to ask myself, though, is do I want to see a Tory or Labour MP, who would no doubt vote the same way, in place of a good, decent Liberal Democrat constituency MP?

The answer would be, always, no.

But there does need to be a way of showing the leadership that we are serious.

I wonder if, the next time there's a National Day of Action on fairer tax or whatever, people could be encouraged not to take part to show them how important we activists are. I'd be more comfortable with that than trying to harm the individual chances of particular MPs.

oneexwidow said...

I'm afraid I'd be with Caron on this one as well. Not least as, living in Bristol, we will be defending a sitting MP with no significant prospect of gaining in the any of the other three seats.

That said, it would be a factor if I were travelling somewhere - and I've never been to Cambridge...

Colin Gell said...

Like your blog Mark! I think there is a problem with party line, and I think more MP's should take Simon Hughes comments on they need the conference to put pressure on them seriously!

Anonymous said...

Money talks, bullshit walks.

*The question I'd have to ask myself, though, is do I want to see a Tory or Labour MP, who would no doubt vote the same way, in place of a good, decent Liberal Democrat constituency MP?*

Because if they all vote the same way, the colour yellow is somehow better?

You people get the leadership you deserve.

Belinda said...

I believe I was the first to make that pledge. But it won't stop me campaigning for the Party. I've already told one local MP (who I helped get elected originally) that I won't be helping in his constituency again, but fortunately another local MP (Julian Huppert) DID do the right thing, so I can still campaign for him, and also for PPCs who I trust to vote Liberal not Clegg.

sanbikinoraion said...

I really think someone ought to call a leadership election, because right from the get-go Clegg simply hasn't followed the party's line on so many things, and it's about time the electorate showed that they are fed up with being led around by the nose.