The voice of young liberal democrats

Lib Dems, The Suggestion Party by georgeinwashington
August 21, 2007, 12:22 am
Filed under: Foreign Affairs, Iraq, Liberal Democrats, Party Matters, US/UK relations

When Ming Campbell took over the Liberal Democrat Party, he stated that we would no longer be making polite suggestions from the sidelines but hammering on the doors of power. Todays letter from Ming to the PM sadly showed that there has been little change in this direction. Far from hammering down any doors down, Ming “urged a reappraisal” of strategy, he asked the government to think again.

Whilst I am not against polite political discourse the time to ask the government to simply think again has long passed. They should have thought again before the conflict, they didn’t and after four years of failure it is time to start demanding action.

This requires more than a letter to the PM asking him to reconsider his Iraq strategy. We need to propose a credible and workable alternative. To think of bigger solutions than a simple request for a redeployment to Afghanistan. This debate is already happening in the US with presidential candidate Joe Biden proposing a federalising of Iraq into three entities, like the Dayton agreement that brought peace to Bosnia. Despite the fact that Senator Biden is not one of the front running candidates in the election his ideas are now being adopted by the others. The same Senator Biden, in his capacity of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with the Ambassadors of the Permanent members of the Security Council where they supposedly all agreed to support a UN sponsored Peace Conference if the US proposed one.

Although the war has been deeply unpopular we in Britain can not escape the fact that we stood side by side with President Bush in his march into Iraq and continued to say nothing during the catastrophic errors in the occupation that have left an incredible mess that is Iraq today. Responsibility and leadership now demand that we make some contribution to its solution, at the very least diplomatically. Why is Britain, as a major partner in this war suggesting the same or proposing a peace conference itself as a permanent member of the Security Council.

If the Liberal Democrats could come up with some dynamic and innovative solutions to the problems in the Middle East, rather than asking the government to do it for us, we would be seen more as capable leaders rather than a party of polite suggestion, and if we can manage to do that, we will be far more likely to be hammering on the doors of power in the near future.

1 Comment so far
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I agree there.
There is a problem with the Middle East in general though – Israel/Palestine. That would rip the party in half (I have seen some very unedifying debates online about this issue).

Iraq specifically we need to offer suggestions though, and Iran and Saudi Arabia etc. And this is meant to be Ming’s strength.

Also we need to make some running of Human Rights issues (dispel myths about the HRA, criticise judicial decisions where its misapplied) and civil liberties (that’s an area we can really get good coverage – we can be tough on crime, but protecting our rights and liberty).

Also, what happened to the Great Repeal Act? That got a lot of favourable mentions.

Comment by Tristan Mills

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