Anthony Hook has raised a very legitimate concern about the partial gagging of Euro Selection Candidates. It is utterly absurd that candidates are not able to state where they disagree with an incumbent MEP on a policy issue or where they might take an alternative approach.
I'm getting worried about the drift of the Party at the present time towards some kind of control freakery. For goodness sake we are supposed to be LIBERAL DEMOCRATS.
LIBERAL = standing up for freedom of thought and expression.
DEMOCRAT = supporting pluralistic democracy.
We risk looking like hypocrites when we say one thing externally and don't practice what we preach internally. I think Anthony is also right that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is being flouted - reproduced below:
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
I want to know what the candidates standing in the Euro selections think. I don't want to be a member of a party where pluralism is conveniently dropped to spare the blushes of a few MEPs.
It is morally wrong the way in which some selection rules have favoured incumbents. When the Euro selections are over the Party should develop rules that allow GENUINE choice through a level playing field.
I joined the Liberals because they were different and they believed in Liberal values of openness, pluralism and tolerance. Somewhere along the road these core values are being eroded.
For goodness sake let us have genuine debate, be proud of the debate and let candidates be candidates.