We need to save the 'liberal' name

We need to save the 'liberal' name

We need to save the 'liberal' name

First published in Letters

AN open letter to Nick Clegg:

It was never going to be easy, holding together a party of those who still believed they were Liberals and the Social Democrats. What has proved impossible was trying to marry that lot up to the Tories, it was doomed from the start, and you were always going to be the loser. These are all internal matters, however, and nothing really to do with us.

What is to do with us, and what makes us furious, is the damage you have done to ‘liberalism’, you have succeeded in making ‘Liberal’ a toxic word in the eyes of the electorate. How did you think the result would be otherwise?

How did you think the electorate would react when you signed a pledge – in the eye of huge publicity – not to increase tuition fees and then you simply reneged on it? Is it any wonder that the public hold politicians in such contempt.

How can you assert your liberalism when the elderly and the disabled are forced to move from their homes because they cannot afford to pay the bedroom tax?

How does the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are dependent on handouts from foodbanks because of cuts and confusion on the benefits system make you feel? Are these not problems that Liberals felt they had addressed 100 years ago?

On Europe, we get it, you are an uncritical ‘euro-enthusiast’, by background, personal and public life Europe and the EU have worked for you.

But can you look beyond the metropolitan elite, can you not see that for many ordinary people the EU is at best an irrelevance?

After the 2010 General Election you had the opportunity to be a statesman, instead you squandered everything for a few seats at the Cabinet table. We hope you see that you have squandered everything. We would urge you to do the decent thing before all is lost and liberalism consigned to history. You should resign and we will be able to see if we can pick up the pieces and rebuild the public’s perception of, and trust in, liberalism.

Clr Steve Radford, Clr Jenny Roach, Clr Hazel Williams, Clr Kevin Morrison

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