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, September 05, 2007

Not quite Yellow, Red or Green politically !

Recent posts by Tristan Mills and myself asking if we are, respectively, too right / left wing for the Lib Dems has set me thinking some more. My influences cut across all three shades of progressive political thinking, thereby pleasing few people, other than myself ! My thoughts can be summarised as such :

I'm hopeful that you have all ascertained that my views cut across yellow/green/red [but never blue] thinking. I share the commitment of many ordinary Labour members in seeing that greater equality of **outcomes** is essential for a fairer and more harmonious society - one that we can all feel ‘ownership’ of. Without such, L/liberal notions of 'freedom' are meaningless! As I said in that previous post, 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 ?

From the Greens (party and movement) I embrace the promotion of more localised economies and ideas like credit unions, time banks, LETS and localised currencies. Ideas around Citizen’s Income are also intriguing, but practical, affordable or sellable ? The way Greens do not separate out productive paid work from informal work is one that should challenge us all policy wise.

Further as a fairly libertarian rather than statist ‘left’ I am keen to support mutuals and co-operatives as an alternative to public / private monopolies.

From the Liberal camp the commitment to civil liberties, decentralisation, progressive taxation, environmentalism and internationalism all pull me towards the LD’s. As liberals / Liberals well know power needs to be pushed down to the lowest practicable level and for people to take greater charge of their own communities, so ideas like restorative justice and community panels suit this former community worker whose ethos is to work with, as much as - and in preference to - for, individuals and communities. Empowerment and participatory democracy are key motivations for me, rather than the top-down, passive, Toynbee / social democratic 'we'll do it **for** you approach.

I regret all three main parties seem wedded to economic liberalism. As for NuLab the cult of personality that was Blair, the Iraq war, PFI, Academy schools and perhaps a greater support for nuclear power are issues that took me away from that party. Civil liberties issues such ASBOs, ID Cards, ‘anti-terror’ proposals / detention without trial reveal an authoritarian streak within NuLab. I cannot subscribe to this.

Look how many new laws Blair brought in ? But, to what result ? Now the prisons are full - where next ?

In truth there are many fine people within the Labour party - certainly people I can do business with. However, beyond narrow policy differences, I am very aware that it is only the LDs in Torbay that provide a counter to the [locally] resurgent Tories. So despite an eclectic range of influences the Lib Dems are where I feel both most comfortable and politically useful.

Certainly I was a child of the Thatcher years and I’m in politics to counter the politics of greed, authoritarianism and self-interest that the the Tories represent.



Blogger Downbeatsson said...

I know the quandry - who to join if you are broadly centre left on social and economic issues, but feel you are more 'liberal' than Labour.

9:47 pm GMT

OpenID doctor-frog said...

Hi, Barrie. Can't find your email address -- I'd love to pick your brain as a leftie in the Lib Dems -- so I'm posting this comment here. You're welcome to post it up on the blog or delete it; whichever works for you.

I'd be grateful if you'd go over to and read the entry for 29th Dec. 2007 and comment or email me.

I'm probably about where you're at in terms of the Red / Green / Yellow mixture, and just left the Labour Party. What I want to know, and can't really find out online (because most of the BBs are LD members only) is: are you unusual amongst the Lib Dems, or is there ample room for people like you / me / us? There's so much talk about Liberalism on the LD blogs, etc. ... but what about the Social Democratic component? Do social democrats still have a place in modern Lib-Demmery?

2:29 pm GMT


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