by Stephen Tall on December 9, 2006
Q: Would you regard the Lib Dems as being to the left or the right and how do you answer the charge from Conservative and Labour activists that the Liberal Democrats are the real nasty Party?
A: Is it really so hard to believe that there is room in Britain for a liberal party which tries to make a practical reality of the political philosophy which is liberalism? To those who ask if the Lib Dems are left-wing or right-wing, can I first ask you to define whether you think liberalism is left-wing or right-wing. And why. Then I’ll try and give you a more reasoned answer.
As for the Lib Dems being ‘the real nasty Party’ – there’s too much tribalism in politics already, and whatever I say here will change no-one’s mind, so I’m going to excuse myself from answering. Instead I’ll say this… there is a liberal diaspora in British politics today. There are liberals in each of the main parties, and yet party loyalties all too often stop us from working together. It’s a waste and a shame. I am a liberal first, and a Lib Dem second. I’m content with the Venn Diagram relationship between the two, but I’m not a ‘my party right or wrong’ guy.