A week and a half ago I wrote a post entitled Why Iâ€™m not willing to be part of this coalition and I still stand by what I said there. There has been a lot of feverish talk about an “anti-New Labour” – and by implication pro-Lib-Con – coalition on the blogosphere and a lot of it is utter bilge.
For those of you out there who still think that Cameron is the answer to all your civil liberty prayers, two points:
- Of all the u-turns that Cameron has performed over the past few months, he has pointedly not gone back on the longstanding Tory policy to emasculate the already weak Human Rights Act;
- The refusal of Cameron and the Tory front bench to back their own Lord’s attempts to amend the “glorification” clauses in the Terrorism Bill was utterly disgraceful and a perfect example of quite how pick-n-mix he is on such issues.
With all that said however, I do like the new Liberty Central website and wish it well. Indeed, with my work hat on, I’ve already started contributing to it. I’m optimistic that it will help bring a bit of coordination to what is currently a very diffuse movement. I’m completely happy to work on a cross-party basis like this, indeed I do it every day. Anything that pushes forward the debate and helps people to make informed choices is a good thing.
Liberal Democrats should, in my opinion, work constructively within this and other campaigns. I happen to believe that the most rational choice for supporting civil liberties, constitutional reform and democratic renewal is to vote Liberal Democrat (notwithstanding certain realities to do with our imperfect electoral system). But I’d rather other people came to that conclusion themselves by seeing Liberal Democrats lead by example, than for us to be seen to be attempting to sideline such effort. If supporters of other political parties seek to do the same thing, that can only be for the greater good.