It started with the words ‘A Stronger Economy and A Fairer Society’ on a long train journey back from Liverpool. By @ellispalmer94

This essay was originally posted here

I want to live in a Britain focussed on what unites us, rather than what divides us. I want to live in a Britain that focuses on achieving a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone can get on in life. The experience of Britain in the last 30 years shows that we can’t trust Labour with the task of building a stronger economy as Labour’s spending policy in government was unsustainable and weakened the British economy. Labour knows how to create a big government, it doesn’t know how to create a sustainable one.
We cannot trust the Conservatives with building a fairer society either, as they are all too often focussed on destroying our vital national services. The Conservatives know how to give responsibility to individuals, but they don’t know how to create the equality of opportunity that we treasure as Liberal Democrats.

Labour governments’ know how to spend money on ‘redistribution’ projects to secure that all important backing from their trade union barons, but they don’t know how to spend money on helping the poorest and most vulnerable in our society get on in life. Labour made the lowest paid workers pay tax by keeping the 10p tax rate; we, the Liberal Democrats, created a 0p tax rate so that the lowest paid workers (that is, those earning under £12,00) didn’t pay any tax on their earnings at all; because of the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to no taxes for the lowest paid, you, the cleaner, you, the factory worker; you, the barista; don’t pay any tax on the first £12,000 that you earn. We need to cut the deficit to have a stronger economy, but that should be intertwined wih a fairer society, where the most vulnerable groups in society have opportunities, not burdens.

So, the Conservatives; hmm, how do I say this? The Tories have, over the 30 years before the economic crash, got the economics side of government right. Britain, without the privatisations that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, would be a very different country, crippled by state monopolies by state monopolies, uncompetitive in a rapidly changing economic environment, and unsustainable. But they have neglected both the services, such as the NHS, and the laws that are needed to create a fairer society. The Tories under Thatcher and Major left the NHS, the revered national institution that we all love, chronically underfunded and on life support. We, as Liberal Democrats, believe that the NHS should have enough funding for it to provide world-class services to its users. I feel that, in order to create a sustainable NHS, we must focus on prevention rather than cure, so that we can have a healthier, fairer, and more sustainable society where everyone can get on in life. We need a government that is in touch with the 21st Century. We need to ensure that no legal discrimation exists against individuals and minority groups. As such, the Liberal Democrats, in government, were able to deliver  legislation such as the equal marriage laws, which means that same-sex couples will be able to marry the people that they love; it was an abhorrent situation that existed previously, as the law did not permit individuals to marry their partners just because they were of the same sex. Such an important change would not have happened without the Liberal Democrats in government, as neither the Tories nor Labour would have had the conviction to tackle the vested interests that hold our society back. As a disabled person, I am proud that, in government, we were able to limit the barriers that disabled people face in their everyday lives through the introduction of the Equalities Act in 2010.

We, as a nation, must focus during these tough times on what unites as a nation, rather than what divides us. It is very easy, during these periods of economic strife, to get distracted by the siren noises of left and right; it would be really easy to say that we don’t need to take the choices necessary to reform our economy as many on the left do; it’s just as easy to blame the crisis on institutions, such as the EU, or vulnerable groups in society, such as immigrants, as many on the right do. This crisis is a world crisis that it will be tough to get out of anytime soon, but it is through focusing on what unites us at home and working through supranational institutions abroad to deliver stronger economies and fairer societies across Europe and the world, that we shall get out of this crisis.

The Musings of a Young Person on Thatcher

By Maelo Manning –@libdemchild

I may have been born almost 10 years after Lady Thatcher left office but I must say that I have come across her impact enough to realise that this is a person who was determined that her legacy would endure beyond her death.

My earliest memory of Thatcher is of watching news footage of the miner’s strike. I remember being horrified, at the age 4/5, at scenes of police pushing the miners; it suggested to me that the miners had done something wrong and I was baffled when I was told that they were protesting because they wanted to work.

When the Occupy movement set up camp in London I came into contact with Thatcherism again and discovered that it was her who introduced neo-liberalism into Britain. I was inspired enough to read the ‘Path to Power’ last summer and was struck by how ideologically driven Thatcher was. What I couldn’t understand was how a young person who had been through a world war and experienced a spirit of co-operation would have a strong view of individualism.

As a Liberal Democrat who believes in fairness, equality and community I find it even harder to understand Thatcher when she says in her book that, “business people have been left behind by the Liberal Party’s acceptance of collectivism.” What about non-business people? 

I have this theory that only people who have studied social sciences should be allowed to become Prime Ministers. Science is factual and there is usually or close to an exact answer; Thatcher studied science.

Politics requires an understanding of people and their relationship to work and consumerism. I think that Thatcher believed so strongly in the free market that she forced every situation to fit into that box.

Take right–to-buy, for instance, property ownership is central to neo-liberalism but Thatcher didn’t think about the negative aspects of selling off council houses. If she had maybe we wouldn’t have children living below the breadline in B&Bs.

Nationalism seems to be a weapon that Thatcher used a lot to get people to believe in what she was doing but being British was all about having a strong free market. She is even credited with saving Britain from being the ‘sick man’ of Europe.

David Cameron has now said that Margaret Thatcher has saved our country. If New Labour was Thatcher in disguise and we now have a partly Tory Government then what did Thatcher save Britain from?

 I think that Thatcher’s biggest mistake was to be so unbending in her political views. She divided the Nation and I think that it was undignified for her as Prime Minister to be so delighted by the amount of dissent around her.

Ding Dong Gate, ironically, makes me wonder how Thatcher would have survived in an age dominated by social networking. Social networking has made collective action more powerful.

For a person who didn’t believe in society how would Thatcher have coped with a virtual society that translates their views and anger into protest and movements like Occupy?

UB Lib Dems hold Europe event with MEP

UB Lib Dems hold Europe event with MEP

A massive Lib Dem thank you to those that came tonight to our event with Phil Bennion! *hugs*. At the event, a plurality of topics were discussed, including: food security, Britain’s place in the EU, the situation in Hungary, the free-trade deal with NAFTA, Turkey, the Copenhagen Criteria, and vergangenheitsbewältigung!
We are always open to suggestions for future events; please get in touch with any ideas/things that you would to like to see from us 😀

Much Liberal love,
Your UB LibDems Committee

The Libertine

Liberal Youth’s statement on today’s speech by Nick Clegg’s on immigration policy.

Nick Clegg’s announcement on immigration will damage his plans to build a stronger economy in a fairer society. Immigration is fundamental to building a stronger economy, and a fairer society cannot exist whilst there is discrimination of nationality.

If Nick Clegg truly wants to enable everyone to get on in life, he should re-consider this new illiberal stance on immigration.

Liberal Youth oppose Nick Clegg’s ‘security bonds’ policy, which will stifle foreign entrepreneurship and investment in Britain. We should be encouraging people to start up businesses in here, which create jobs and economic growth.  We cannot say we are being open and tolerant on immigration, whilst putting up further barriers to those who want to come into this country, to work and to get on.

Nick Clegg has failed to learn from Labour’s mistakes on immigration, by proposing a bloated bureaucratic solution which is neither liberal nor economically viable.

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