Tuesday, 21 April 2009

'Libertarians' turn authoritarian....

. I couldn't help but smirk reading Charlotte Gore's latest blog and wonder if the irony of a self-professed 'libertarian' complaining about the net results of democracy and empowerment of individuals ie, party members is not lost on her. If we take into account the campaign of Liberal Vision's candidate for Party President we have seen a consistent pattern here of libertarians complaining about or trying to subvert inner party democracy.

The Liberal Democrats are a 'Party for Lib Dems' screams her headline. Well, of course it is; it is only right that the members have the biggest stake and say in the direction a political party takes. We only need to look across to the government benches to see what happens when members and activists are disenfranchised. This is not a flaw but a positive virtue and I say that as somebody who does not always agree with the direction our party takes; I think conference was wrong over faith schools and will continue to say so, however, that is now the party policy and the only way to change that is through winning the argument, something I personally have no problem with.

Charlotte complains;

"the Liberal Democrats highly democratic structure has the same flaw - policy is dictated by the membership , which creates another fatal feedback loop of our policies only ever appealing to the people within the Lib Dem Party and alienating everybody else."

So, maybe the 8% leap in the most recent MORI poll and the fact we are now consistently hovering around the 20% (as opposed to 14-16%) is a figment of my imagination? Also, it is apparently a problem that both our 'social democratic' and 'liberal' members have to agree for policy to pass. Why is this a bad thing? I would say it is good unless you do want ideological purity in your politics and the beauty of ideological purity is that it only remains pristine while it remains in isolation from the real world. So, perhaps not a good idea for us; although Charlotte seems to think the Liberalist Party and LPUK represent a 'critical mass of opinion'. I think she would be the first to concede not a particularly large critical mass though and certainly not as large as the electoral coalition the Liberal Democrats could potentially build and in some ways embody in their body politic.

Just what does Charlotte mean by 'empowering the leadership to lead'? I rather suspect she means she would support leadership by diktat (hence the headline to this post) as long as it was her kind of leadership pursuing the kind of policies she wants to see implemented. This is many things but democratic and liberal I would say it defiantly is not; something Charlotte kind-of concedes by ackowledging the problem with our structure being it's democratic nature. Of course, one might think that this is rather authoritarian in nature....to borrow a phrase, you might think that but I couldn't possibly comment...

11 comments:

Julian H said...

Liberal Vision didn't have a candidate for President. Chandila raised enough nominations to stand through his own party connections, and wrote his own manifesto.

Darrell G said...

Julian,

...We all know he was Liberal Vision's candidate; just because he didnt wear a name tag saying 'im the Liberal Vision candidate' doesn't make it any less so........

Julian H said...

How do you know? And why wouldn't LV have just said he was the candidate?

Darrell G said...

Julian,

Maybe because they were embaressed about their connections to PV and the long winding road that leads all the way back to the Conservatives...

Regardless, there is a broader point here; you cannot on the one hand act all injured when people accuse you of being conspiritorial then produce the kind of things like Charlotte did on her blog today actually complaining the problem with the Liberal Democrats is that they are too democratic as a party....

Julian H said...

Why not? How does Charlotte's post have anything to do with conspiracy theories?

Who do you think wrote her post? Mark Littlewood? Bernard Ingham?

Darrell G said...

Julian,

Because being against democracy in the Lib Dems, as Charlotte so clearly is does rather suggest youd prefer governence by clique and conspiracy....

KelvinKId said...

A totally bizarre post by Charlotte Gore. I often get the feeling that libertarians of whatever ilk see life down the wrong end of a telescope. Why join a Liberal Democratic party if you are not in favour of Liberal Democracy? Then she complains that a minority of members cannot contol policy, presumably because they are more ideologically 'pure' than the rest of us. No wonder it's been suggested she f%^k off.

Darrell G said...

Kelvin,

I tend to agree about Charlotte wanting us to be a pure sect as I have said many a time on this blog and hers. It's hard to escape the impression that she does want us to represent her concerns and although she feels this is the route to electoral success I dont agree...the hard fact of politics is that you get elected by building coalitions and this is another aspect that Charlotte finds bad about our party which I think is a positive thing....

Charlotte Gore said...

The point I keep making is very simple:

The only people who vote on Lib Dem Policy are people attracted by current policy.

I'm not talking about abolishing the entire democratic structure - I'm talking about empowering the leaders to act in a way that would lead to a more consistent and coherent platform.

Let's see what they can come up with for the next General Election. Perhaps the Pic'n'Mix approach to the manifesto won't feature this time.

It's funny you describing me as authoritarian though, nemesis. Always a first time for everything. :D

Darrell G said...

Charlotte,

Well I think that should be self-evident. You see the devil is in the detail and as I have said what makes you think the leadership would radically alter things in any case? If they were suddenly set 'free' from pesky democracy....

The difference between us is I think the fact you are trying to hammer home is a good thing. Apart from all the reasons I have mentioned there is another reason; that it keeps our party in touch and accountable to our core. Labour has killed internal democracy stone dead and look what has happened in terms of it shedding core votes left, right and centre...

Now I perfectly accept that we have to build coalitions beyond our core support but we cant lose sight of the essential part that support keeps in keeping our party living and vital.

The question remains what exactly are you talking about in real, concrete terms?

....you know I mean it in the nicest possible way (A)

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