Too 'Left Wing' for the LD's ?
During the 2007 local elections and in a recent online exchange elsewhere it was put to me - by a couple of Labour supporters that I should fight for what I believe in from within the Labour party.
'Red Flag' - curiously enough argued with me on a Tory PPC site - that :
By the way Barry your left wing views challenging New Labour should be from with[sic] Labour not from inside that minor party of yours ! Lib Dems too right wing for you surely ?
Now in a previous debate some Lib Dems took issue with the my use of the terms right and left wing, but I hope my response gives Red Flag and others the answer as to how I see myself politically. I replied :
BTW 'Red Flag' whilst I have no problem with being broadly seen as being on the 'left' - much to the chagrin of some LD's - I think the liberal / authoritarian axis is equally important.
Therefore, I can agree with the socially liberal free-marketeer David Laws often more easily than 'left wing' social conservatives / authoritarians like George Galloway. So, on their own the terms 'right' and 'left' wing hide nuances of difference, and as such, could hide the very core values and emphases that separate me from the 2007 Labour party.
[Dis]agreements on policy is one thing and these wax and wane over time. It is core values and principles that are key. Contrary as ever, I'd describe myself at the moment as a Liberal Democrat rather than Liberal per se. I am socially liberal, politically liberal, personally liberal but economically more social democratic oriented, especially in relation to the state and public services.
On core areas I can agree with the LD emphasis on civil liberties, decentralisation, environmentalism, fair taxation, electoral reform, internationalism et al. I did many months ago flesh out some of the policy differences with Labour, so will not do so again. However, I probably share a greater affinity with the typical Labour members' commitment not just equal opportunitiies, but to more equitable outcomes too. This puts me at odds with a number of Lib Dems in blogoshere !
In short, to paraphrase the LD constitution - no-one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity - but what real freedoms exist if one lives in inadequate housing, suffers from poor health or is on a subsistence level income ? Choices ? What choices do such people have ? There is still a role for the state, at least as 'guarantors' to protect the most vulnerable in society.