Monday, November 13, 2006

Are We Really All That Bad?

As I trekked round most of the North of England today (specifically, York - Harrogate - Leeds - Settle - Carlisle - Preston - Manchester) a question dogged me; what does the party really think of LDYS policy?

I ask because it has now become something of a professional concern; as an LDYS Executive Member I've taken on a portfolio loosely entitled "Policy and Education" concerned with improving policy generation and management within LDYS and regaining some of our influence on Federal Party policy. But equally, as someone who has never attended Federal Party Conference (though only because it's always the same week as Manchester Freshers Fair and it's now become something of a protest for me) I can't really gauge the true feelings of the party at large.

Obviously I know we've something of a reputation for radicalism (I have after all at least read the pornography motion so that was ever so slightly obvious!) But is the dismay at our supposed irresponsibility real, or do people secretly take Paddy Ashdown's view that what LDYS thinks today will be mainstream in the party in five years?

In fairness my interest is only really academic; I certainly have no instinct to reel our radicalism in and I would hope that a democratic party would at least take it on the chin as an inevitable consequence of our nature. Still, it would be good to know exactly how mad people are at us before stepping in with me big size 12's...

1 comment:

Steve said...

I've never been to an LDYS conference (though I have been a member and am a p/t student at Manchester) - but a quick perusal of the LDYS website seems to show some pretty sensible policies. I've not looked at any of the lapsed ones - but things like the policies on the NUS, arms trade, trade unions, education funding etc are all very sensible, well put together and in keeping with the party's ideologies.

I think the complaints people have had in the past are motivated by fear. Politicians are forced to self censor all the time - and our fear of the media can prevent us from fielding ideas based upon liberal ideology that might be the right thing to do, but easy for the red-tops to get hysterical over. I doubt Murdoc's terribly keen on the dis-establishment of the monarchy for instance; and I bet my views as a vegan on animal welfare wouldn't go down well with the majority of the population.

My opinion is that the LDYS should keep doing what it does - no matter how much the rest of the party squeals, so long as it's in keeping with the principles upon which we are based. Sometimes it's necessary for voices which do not fear the ballot box quite so much to speak out - especially when they have a fresh and different perspective to offer. This party is about radicalism and challenge - lets not change our intellectual heritage so that the older members of the party can remain in their comfort zone.