Monday, 13 December 2010

The Lib Dems and the grown-ups

I was talking the other day to a friend about how the current political situation could spark an increase in Lib Dem support in the coming months and years (after all, our membership is rising, I'm told). He asked, not unreasonably, where he could read such a view expressed in the mainstream media? Right on cue comes this piece in The Independent by Mary Ann Sieghart, which I heartily recommend. What do people think of her arguments?


  1. Condescending positive strokes aimed at positioning right wing ideology with maturity?

    I think what she was trying to say was "Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head" : Guizot.

  2. Who is Guizot? I had never previously heard of him. That is my ignorance. I thought it was a Churchill quote: “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.” I just looked it up and it appears that Churchill never said it, and that your quote should indeed be attributed to Guizot.

    It turns out that Churchill also said: "A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen."

    With regards to the actions of Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and the other Lib Dem ministers, doing what they believe must be done even if it attracts some unpopularity, I was also struck by yet a third Churchill quote: "A man does what he must -in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality."

  3. This is the same Churchill that said "Gandhism must be crushed" whilst a member of the Indian defence league? A moral man indeed.

  4. Yes, Churchill was a man of his times and, from a modern perspective, his opposition to Indian independence is indefensible, even if it was founded (at least in part) on his belief that Britain had a responsibility towards those it was governing in India, and so should not create a chaotic administrative vacuum by precipitately withdrawing. Had I been around at that time, I would have supported Indian independence. I would never have wanted us to have colonies or an empire in the first place.

    Re:- Gandhism, is that the same Mr Gandhi who apparently wrote to Hitler saying: "We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents."

    One can play the selective historical quotation game forever!