Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Good for You Gavin!

I'm very pleased to hear that Gavin Webb, the Liberal Democrat PPC for Burton has finally been reinstated by the Party after enduring two suspensions from Party membership. Details of the going ons can be found on my friend Alex Wilcock's blog.

It would seem that, not for the first time, some people have been exceeding their powers within the Party. Unfortunately there is a small "barrack room lawyer" tendency within the Liberal Democrats. This small group of people have instincts at variance with the core values of Liberalism and a creative tendency "to make it up as they go along" when someone gets in their crosshairs. These are people who, perhaps due to poor eyesight, or maybe because they joined the Liberal Democrats as a vehicle for personal ambition rather than the pursuit of personal liberty for all are unable to read or understand what it says on the Party membership card:

"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one will be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity".

I hope that lessons will be learned by the Party from this sorry episode and I also hope that more attention will be paid to the real need for swift action when there are abuses of power rather than trying to sweep them under the carpet. Sweeping them under the carpet only creates problems further down the line.

Good for you Gavin! May you enjoy taking on our opponents and may your own side leave you in peace to do your job.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The Truth Will Out In The End

Today is a rather bitter-sweet day in many ways. I won't pretend that I am not disappointed with a letter I received from the Council this morning. I dispute some of the statements made within it. My motivation was to protect my personal business interests and there are other interested parties involved as well. The ruling sets an unfortunately precedent as does the subsequent conduct of persons unnamed. Allowing "open season" on members of the local business community will not encourage future investment in the area.

As a professional trainer who undertakes a lot of face-to-face communication in the UK and in other parts of the world I think it legitimate to complain when someone makes a sweeping statement in a local newspaper that you are not competent in this area. People who know me well know that the Councillor concerned was talking bollocks but unfortunately there are a number of people out there I have still to meet who might take the comment concerned at face value until they have had the benefit of a conversation with me. Anyway, I still have 30 days now to consider appealing regarding the decision.........

It does seem that life has a bit of a habit of compensating you though. I have not been the only one who has experienced some "local difficulties". It would appear that a number of other PPCs and ex-PPCs have gone through a similar situation to myself. In an odd kind of way this is a bit of a comfort when you realise that you are not alone. It is even more comforting when some people (who are not you) start to suggest that things need to change for the better. There are some issues that need to be confronted once and for all in the Party about the treatment of PPCs and a recognition that PPCs have multiple roles (husband, wife, worker/self-employed, partner, parent, carer, etc.) and need more support.

I'm certainly never ever planning to stand again for Parliament (I would be divorced faster than you can say "Mao Zedong" if were to suggest it) but it still grieves me that others have also faced a similar situation to my own and next to nothing appears to have been done about it and it is happening again and again.

It is time to end the "Ostrich approach" to these matters and time for someone (English Candidates Committee?) to start showing some real steel and enforce genuine local party democracy.

I've also got some interesting documents but I will try not to mix alcohol and the e-mail system...........