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Liberal Britain?

September 5, 2015 8:27 AM
By Jim Williams in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats - winning here!We're told that Britain is a liberal country, that Liberalism is mainstream. After all, every party supported same-sex marriage, the gender gap is narrowing, and even the class system is slowly, slowly, so painfully slowly on the wane.

The state's attempts to impinge on privacy are rebutted time and time again - or have been up until now - we keep spending on international development even when we're hurting at home, and each Parliament is more diverse than the last.

We have much to be proud of, and rightly so.

But in a truly liberal Britain, there would be as many women sitting round the directors' table as men. The best students from our state schools and from our private schools would have the same chances on results day. Our police would look just like the people they work so hard to serve - as would our soldiers, as would our politicians.

In a liberal Britain, migration wouldn't be a source of fear: it would be a source of pride. Immigrants would be celebrated for strengthening our economy, enriching our society and invigorating our culture. British values wouldn't be the good old inward Anglo-Saxon values we know so well: they would be globalist, welcoming, caring, just.

Companies that pay their fair share would be celebrated, child poverty would not just be measured but eradicated, and the terminally ill could choose dignity over suffering: in their own time, in their own way.

Each vote would carry the same weight, teachers would be allowed to focus on teaching, not paperwork, and our doctors and nurses would be trusted to heal, innovate, learn and heal better.

A liberal Britain would not only take its fair share of refugees, but make the case that our neighbours should do the same. A liberal Britain would lead internationally: championing nuclear disarmament, Security Council reform, the rule of law, and the supremacy of human rights. But a liberal Britain would never use arms to spread its values: only to defend those who can't defend themselves.

Above all, a liberal Britain wouldn't scaremonger, wouldn't pit Us against Them, and wouldn't seek to profit from division and discord. A liberal Britain would give everyone a fair chance, be unafraid to put trust in the goodness of ordinary people, and be unafraid to call to account those who abuse that trust.

As Liberal Democrats, we believe Britain's not liberal enough. This is what we're about. This is why we're here. It's time we made sure people knew it. It's time we made sure no-one ever asks again, "What's the point of the Liberal Democrats?"

* Jim Williams is an international development strategy consultant and new member of the Liberal Democrats

Read more by Jim Williams or more about future strategy or liberalism.