I’ve been a member of the Lib Dems since they were founded, and before that was in the Liberal Party from my arrival in Cambridge in 1986. I’m likely to stick with them unless my views or theirs fundamentally change; I think they have it fundamentally right on electoral reform, education, the environment, and most recent foreign policy issues, in a way which the other two main parties have not, and I feel that philosophically social liberalism is where I am coming from, and that the party has on the whole stuck to that perspective.
However, just because you are a member of a party doesn’t mean you have to sign up to every element of its policy programme. This post is sparked in part by the current leadership contest and in part by the fact that I’ve been doing some telephone canvassing for a friend who is seeking a European Parliament nomination this weekend. I’m listing here six elements of current Lib Dem policy with which I disagree. I am probably in a minority in the party on all of these, with my position getting more and more at odds with the rest of the party as we go down the list, and I think it’s most unlikely that any leadership candidate in the near future will agree with me on any of them.
But I guess doing this flushes the issues from my mind, as well as ensuring that I myself don’t go for any internal party contests any time soon…
1) The UK nuclear deterrent. The party’s policy is not so much wrong as hopelessly wishy-washy – to cut Trident by half and put off difficult decisions about replacing it. In reality the British nuclear weapons capacity is an expensive joke. The minority on the party’s working group (see here, p. 26) had it right. Even more so
2) Nuclear power. The party’s policy appears to be one of clear opposition to any new nuclear power stations.