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I’M AN UNASHAMED, PROUD TO BE, ONE NATION LIBERAL”

October 22, 2015 11:14 AM
By Robin Popley (Chair of Loughborough Local Party)

Robin PopleyTime to put my cards on the table.

Like most of you reading this article, I was delighted to see Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party storm to victory in Canada. Not least because as a good proportion of my family are Canadian and I know how long they've been waiting for the son of the legend to rise to the fore. At last, there is a real sense of hope in Canada and it is because of him - I have no doubts he will live up to all the expectations placed upon his shoulders.

However, it was also tinged with a little bit of a lingering sadness as it reminded me how much I yearn for our party to be more like our sister party in Canada. A party that the masses flock to. A party that stands alone on a traditional Liberal mantle. I don't wish to insult anyone with my next statement but I feel that it must be said: our party currently isn't a true reflection of Liberalism. I argue it is probably more close to a soft-core liberal meets pragmatic socialist movement. That isn't what being a Liberal is all about. Liberalism is about putting power back into people's hands so that they can live their lives as they see fit. As I've always said to anyone who asks me what my views are on this issue: as long as you play by the rules - i.e. pay your contributions to society financially and don't go around committing atrocious crimes against humanity, you're alright by me.

Some people may not like this approach. They may feel it is somewhat underwhelming not to give direction about how they can live their lives. I, myself know as someone with a learning difficulty, just how important routine can be to my every day living. However, I think the opportunity to also better your life should be encouraged. That is why I firmly believe I am a One Nation Liberal.

Now, some of you may say 'One Nation' - that is a Conservative mantra! It is true that Disraeli came up with its conception in the mid years of the Victorian era and it has come back and regressed as a formula over the years, most notably returning during the Second World War. However, I firmly believe it is an idea that works well. I say this as someone who lives in the countryside, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the City. London, to me, seems like another country somewhere in the far distance. The harsh reality of the City is that should the FTSE 100 have a bad day, all of us from Hamlets to suburban towns will suffer. Yet, what if things were different. What if London only had a partial impact on the full outcome of our economy?

Have you ever heard yourself (or someone you know) say - 'I have this really good idea, but, I don't know how to go about it?' Cast your net over the Atlantic and you'll find a nation built on the core principal that anyone can be a someone. They label it the American dream. In our own mainstream society, I'd argue there is another high profiled executive who befits this ideal too. Lord Alan Sugar - the barrow boy turned businessman. My point is thus: why not try to turn our hand to making society work for us rather than the other way around. Have an economy that grows because of our endeavours instead of 1% circulating wealth in a merry go round system.

You may ask, how does this affect our party? I come back to my earlier point about how liberal we are. Should a liberal compromise in their radicalism? Should a liberal over step the mark on civil interference? Should a liberal press red tape impositions upon people's lives? My answer in all three scenarios would be a resounding 'no'. People always feel better when they feel like they determine their destinies. Therefore, this is our golden chance to become the Liberal Party that speaks for everyone. The party of the bar staff, the street sweepers, the cleaners, dinner ladies, young and senior professionals, middle class entrepreneurs and beyond. We need to reach out to everyone and I think that is why Justin Trudeau won in Canada. Not because he prioritised one section over another but he took Canada as one nation and said, here we are, this is our nation.

If we do that same thing, Liberals from all walks of life will start to see our purpose again.