The Lib Dems in Harrow and the wider world


Why I support the Lib Dems  by Derek Hill

Let’s face it, we are a small party in Harrow. As the recently elected Chair for the LibDems in Harrow, I want to make our country a place we want to live and thrive in. So we must go back to running this nation from the moderate and reasonable centre, not from the extreme right of Toryism or the extreme left of Labourism.

We should go back to that traditional British pragmatism, which has served us so well. The LibDems are the best placed and only party to offer voters this future. 

We cannot move on by simply trying to recreate the past, or rather an imagined past, no matter how much it suits our nostalgia. The world is not what it was in past decades. We must deal with the world as it is now.

That means dealing with climate change, whose effects become daily more apparent, in a determined but realistic way, retaining democratic support for measures which at times, it is impossible to deny, will inconvenience some individuals.

It means at a national level not opening new coal mines, and in Harrow not encouraging greater car use.

It means pursuing pragmatic economic policies which provide good jobs and good incomes, and which will finance the public services we all want.

Creating a dynamic economy involves getting a lot of things right, rather like conducting an orchestra. Good education, appropriate investment incentives, a labour force with the right skills, easy access to markets, first class infrastructure and stable government are all essential.

The present Government is presiding over declining investment because, as a result of Brexit, we have much less access to markets, and we no longer can efficiently draw on talent to meet anyworkforce shortages. Simply changing taxation or allowing bankers to take bigger risks (a dubious endeavour in itself) is just one impediment.

I want to re-join the EU, and the LibDems are the only party committed to that. But that will not happen quickly and will require an unequivocal commitment from the UK to membership.

Leaving the EU has damaged our economy (as have Covid and Putin) and will do so increasingly as it is fully implemented (for example we are yet to introduce our own customs controls on imported goods). Brexit has weakened our influence in Europe and the world at a time when it is more needed than ever. Our way of life is threatened by Putin’s evil war in Ukraine. We need greater European solidarity not less. 

Finally, our constitution is creaking. The gentlemanly conventions of the 19th century are no longer sufficient. MPs are now ultra-partisan and rarely change party or even listen to the other party at all. If we are to get back a pragmatic Parliament, we need proportional representation. And we need a reformed house of Lords which can help bind the varied parts of the UK. 

None of this is or will be easy. But the LibDems are the only way forward.

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