Wednesday, 10 July 2013
A statement about my membership of the Liberal Democrats
Leaving the Liberal Democrats has become such an event, I'm surprised that Elton John isn't throwing an after party and we aren't all getting giftbags.
I write about it with humour, but I need to be honest, I don't find the whole shtick funny. It makes me angry, and the reason that I'm writing about it here, is because I feel the need in some sense to cut through the BS.
So, here are my three top tips if you're planning on leaving the party.
Firstly, something needs to be said about making a departing statement. Congressmen make statements when they're resigning due to sexual misdemeanours. Tony Blair made a statement telling folks he didn't want to be Prime Minister any more. If I decided to leave the LibDems, unless I'd developed a particularly inflated view of my own importance, I probably wouldn't feel the need to make a statement. There's something that turns my stomach slightly, about these 'oh, it was such a hard decision' postings, because, if it was that difficult a decision, you wouldn't publicise it to such an extent that it becomes a direct slap in the face. There's something very strange indeed about making a personal decision based on personal beliefs and then plastering it across the internet.
Secondly, don't expect my sympathy if you join Labour. So many of our departed friends have left the Liberal Democrats to join the Labour Party, because, well, the LibDems have lost their heart, the party isn't democratic, there have been too many broken promises. Don't make me laugh.
A person who leaves the Liberal Democrats for moral reasons doesn't join the same party that took us into an illegal war, that is still being fought and the cost still being counted.
A person who leaves the Liberal Democrats because our members aren't listened to will have a great time at the next Labour Party conference, as long as they're happy to sit, smiling in the back of shot and then tell journalists what a great Prime Minister Ed Miliband will make. A person who leaves the Liberal Democrats because we've broken too many manifesto pledges will enjoy explaining to people in Labour controlled areas why their Library is closing despite promises to protect services, and why the Library in the neighbouring LibDem authority will remain open. Join Labour, if that's what you want to do, but it's best not to start off by lying to yourself.
The third thing, is that if you're leaving, don't pretend to care about the people you're leaving behind. I've read enough 'with a heavy hearts' and 'whilst it isn't easy's to last me a lifetime. If you actually, in your heart of hearts, cared about the future of the Liberal Democrats and the liberal cause, creating a public furore about your departure is a pretty odd way to show it. In so many cases, these people are trying to have their cake and eat it. It's a case of 'I'm leaving you, and doing a hatchet job, but I'm nice and I care really'. No. People who care about the Liberal Democrats are Liberal Democrats. People who care about this party, are the ones who read the posts about people leaving, then go out and deliver leaflets in the snow to help progress the cause. People who care about the Liberal Democrats stick with us, through gritted teeth, perhaps, because there will be a post-coalition party that needs good, moral, people to shape it and support it.
So, here's my statement regarding my membership of the Liberal Democrats. I'm staying. Now let's see how many column inches that one gets.
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