This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lord Ashdown + 'Cross Dressing' !

The G2 section of 'The Guardian' carried an article on political 'cross dressing'. Mr Blair defines the era of left / right politics over and declares that political ideas are fluid. Very fluid in his case. Now, unlike lots of Lib Dems, I do use the left / right political axis as a way of defining issues. I do it for left and right is the shorthand that the public understands. I have no problem with describing myself as a bottom-up grassroots liberal, green-ish and left-ish.

Of at least the same importance as the left / right divide is the liberal / authoritarian spectrum. When one looks at politics through this prism one can find oneself closer to so-called 'Orange Book' market Liberals than the authoritarian left on issues. This too is not a problem for me. Yes, on economic questions I am social democrat inclined, but without the unnecessarily prescriptive and statist assumptions of most of the left. Commitment to decentralisation, variation, meeting locally decided differing needs and priorities and local accountability of public services are where I differ from the Labour Left. The state doesn't always know best and politicians rarely do !

However, the problem with Blair is summed up well by 'Lord' Paddy Ashdown in an interview in the Summer 2006 issue of 'Fabian Review'. He describes Tony Blair as someone who "...doesn't have a creed he believes in. I think Tony's creed is that Britain would be better if it was run by decent people. And decent people are like him. A politician needs a creed because it'a a creed that's your sheet anchor that holds your ship into the storm'.

We need to remember this. Joining NuLab / Tories in political cross-dressing and like them dressing to the right will lose us those things that are compassionate, liberal, progressive and DIFFERENT about our party. Furthermore, offering the same option, offering the voters three similar political varients would only make extreme options [like BNP] seem more like a definitive alternative. Chillingly the vile racists; and in parts neo-nazi influenced BNP, often use the abbreviation of OPWTN to describe the major parties. That is 'One Party With Three Names'. We must not let the BNP make headway with this jibe.

Let's remain distinctively Liberal and be seen to do so !


Blogger Rob F said...

I've long believed that the only people who no longer define politics in terms of left / right are politicians. One of the many reasons why the public are completely bewildered by the political classes.

1:27 pm BST


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