An Open Letter to Charles Kennedy…..
I know where you’re at; although the rumours of your defection may not be true it is my belief that they are probably the product of your deep personal unhappiness about the direction the Liberal Democrats are taking as a Party. I understand; I really do. Like yourself I was appalled by Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq and the lack of a fighting opposition within it drained me of my faith in Labour as a progressive Party. So, after a time when I became actively involved in politics again it was the Liberal Democrats who I joined. I thought, wrongly, they would while not being the Labour Party be a place where the ideals that Labour had stood for could be realised. Neither of us were alone; alot of Labour voters felt the same way. They saw in the Liberal Democrats a Party who could carry their hopes and dreams forward and they were allowed to think that because the Janus-face characterisation of the Liberal Democrats speaks to an essential truth about their opportunist political modus operandi.
Lacking a coherent central narrative they are able to effectively present themselves as they please to each different audience. The illusion could be maintained while in opposition but once in power this became somewhat harder whether that was at council or national level. What is more as you know behind the cuddly facade the Liberal Democrats while maybe not being especially nasty or undemocratic do not deserve to feel and argue they are somehow ‘better’ than the others. This claim is part of which will define the harshness of their fall and the delight that their political opponents will take in it.
Right now, you dont want to believe this is true, because you have invested alot more in the Liberal Democrats than I ever did and of course have been its leader. However, it is and battling from within will change nothing. Your party is bound by a thousand grosser threads to loyalty it its Conservative controllers. I understand your reluctance because initially I shared it however, this should not stop you from doing what needs to be done and what is necessary.
People that are left within it are either loyalists, blinded beyond sense and reason to what is happening or like yourself unhappy prisoners in a Party they just cant bear to leave. Leave however you defiantly should. As a party of progress the Liberal Democrats are dead and no amount of sorcery will bring them back to life. Labour politics outside of Labour however are just not the same; they are not at home and for all we swear and curse at the policy directions Labour sometimes takes to dismiss it on those grounds would be to miss the bigger picture.It’s time to come home to the Party where your politics belong; where they can find a happy home. You may not agree with every policy (I don’t) but that is not the point. It’s time you came home to Labour.