25 random things … about the Lib Dems

by Stephen Tall on February 2, 2009

As Facebook devotees will know, there’s currently a rather virulent meme afflicting all users, called self-explanatorily enough, 25 random things:

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

So far LDV’s Facebook page has escaped being tagged … but why let that stop us? So here goes with 25 random things about the Lib Dems:

1. The Lib Dems were founded on 3rd March, 1988. Which means we’ll be 21 in a month, and reach full maturity.

2. Our parent parties – the Liberals and SDP – didn’t always get along, but after a trial period of living together decided to get married.

3. We’ve had five party leaders since then. Nick Clegg is the first whose abbreviated name isn’t also a well-known acronym (PA, CK, MC, VC).

4. There have been four deputy leaders. Those able to name all four of them are, generally speaking, the ones you should avoid at social gatherings.

5. The party’s aim in life is to build a “a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

6. The party has won 13 Parliamentary by-elections since it was formed.

7. We believe everyone should be free to live their lives as they wish as long as they don’t harm others. Like the Tories do, except we believe that freedom applies to private lives, too.

8. We believe that individuals are stronger and freer when we band together as a society. Like Labour does, except we believe that government is only one expression of society’s will.

9. We believe in devolving power from Westminster to local government. Like the other parties do until they find themselves in power.

10. To prove our localist credentials, the Lib Dems are a federal party of the parties of Wales, Scotland and England, with Scotland and England further split into regional parties.

11. There are now 63 Lib Dem MPs – that’s almost exactly three times as many as the party had before 1997.

12. The party has always stuck up for equal rights. However, only 14% of Lib Dem MPs are female, and 100% are white.

13. We now control 31 councils, and in last year’s local elections beat Labour into third place for only the second time in our electoral history.

14. We marched against the war in Iraq, back when opposition to it was risky. Many of us reckon this was perhaps our proudest moment.

15. We once argued for a penny on income tax and a 50% rate for top earners; we now pledge to switch tax to pollution and close tax loopholes to fund income tax cuts for all. Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis.

16. We have always put the environmental agenda to the fore, long before it was fashionable to ‘hug a huskie’.

17. The most pro-European of all the major parties, the Lib Dems have long believed in holding referenda on treaties which decide the future of the EU. Except last year when we didn’t.

18. There were 60,357 of us Lib Dem members at the last count. Which is almost exactly the same as the average attendance at Arsenal’s football matches in 2008-09.

19. Our leader Nick Clegg was given community service aged 16 after setting fire to a rare collection of cacti in a drunken prank.

20. In 1973 Chris Huhne used a bench to smash his way into Oxford University’s Indian Institute in support of students wanting a central student union for Oxford.

21. Notwithstanding these last two points, the party firmly believes ‘We Can Cut Crime!’

22. Our front-bench numbers 27, which is 43% of our MPs. If we form a majority government this would equate to 143 front-benchers.

23. We were once in government in both Wales and Scotland. As a direct result of which we have since turned down all opportunities to be in government in both Wales and Scotland.

24. In 2008, the Lib Dems received £3.9 million in donations. This compared with £14.8m for Labour and £18.1m for the Tories. Which fact may partly explain why the party tends to stick up for the underdog.

25. We believe passionately in proportional representation. In fact, our party trick is explaining how Britain would be perfect if only elections were held under the single transferable vote within multi-member constituencies.

Well, that’s my 25 on behalf of the party. I’m not going to inflict this meme on 25 individuals – instead I’m going to tag the 186 Lib Dem bloggers represented on the Aggregator. Feel free to knock yourselves out on it.