In the light of recent events I have been thinking very hard about my political future. I've decided that I no longer wish to remain a member of Shepway Liberal Democrats and will be making a formal written request to Bromley & Chislehurst Liberal Democrats to rejoin them this week and aide them in their campaigning.
This will enable me to continue to play a role in the wider Party and to continue to support the ideals and implementation of genuine Liberalism, something to which I have dedicated the whole of my adult life. I will, however, remain living in Folkestone and running my businesses from there. I am sad that the chance to represent my hometown in Parliament as a Liberal Democrat, a dream I worked towards for the best part of 20 years, has now sadly gone for good.
There have been some strange allegations passing around (mainly, I suspect, created in the mind of a certain local newspaper editor who shall remain nameless) that I was somehow considering forming yet another breakaway Party from the Liberal Democrats. This is an allegation without foundation. I have always held the belief that Liberalism is greater set of ideals than the vanity of any individual, however they may have been treated by some of those who call themselves "Liberal Democrats" but perhaps don't genuinely understand what that label means.
Great ideals of Liberalism include: putting the freedom of the individual over the tyrrany of the majority, being free to do as we like as long as our actions do not harm others; freedom of expression and thought against dull conformity; freedom from poverty and ignorance and belief in the rule of law and the right to property. Regrettably to my mind it seems that some would have the party turn into a fan club of particular individuals (both local and national) rather than recognise that intelligent debate and dissent is essential if organisations and political movements are to move forward.
I am concerned that the "cult of personality" is unfortunately eroding those core values locally in the Shepway Liberal Democrats. I understand from friends of mine that certain elements in the Shepway Liberal Democrats have behaved in a fashion more in keeping with the fervent elements of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in China (one of the particular individuals concerned is well aware who he is and needs to start reflecting on his personal conduct).
Above all, it is critically important now that the Shepway Liberal Democrats reunite and focus their attention upon the genuine common opposition, the Conservatives, who, despite the warm words, would promote a vision of society that maintains existing divisions and the privileges of the few at the expense of the many and this Labour Government which is still pressing ahead with actions which will damage our local communities and erode our personal freedoms.
To facilitate reunification after this period of division I now leave the field.