by Stephen Tall on January 14, 2014
For the last fortnight, LibDemVoice has been asking our readers who they think deserves the accolade, Liberal Voice of the Year, now in its seventh year.
The short-list was chosen by current Lib Dem members in our most recent survey: the 14 nominees all had to be separately mentioned by at least four individuals to be eligible for inclusion. The twist is that none of them can be current Lib Dems, forcing us to look beyond party label to recognise the liberal achievements of people who aren’t big-l Liberals. I think it’s our strongest short-list ever: there’s not a single name on the list I think doesn’t merit inclusion on liberal grounds.
Here’s how I ranked them…
And here’s my justification…
I tried to work out who’d achieved the most liberal things and had done so at the greatest personal cost. On that basis, I reckoned the state-spying exposer Edward Snowden, the humble, liberalising Uruguyan president Jose Mujica (who was one of my CentreForum Liberal Heroes) and the freedom-fighting punksters Pussy Riot deserved my top three spots this year. (I placed Malala in first place last year.)
The only person I didn’t place was Nelson Mandela. He is, of course, a Liberal Hero. But I didn’t think he really counted as Liberal of the Year, given his achievements lie in the past, but placing him in anywhere other than pole position seemed wrong somehow.