Support and ideas for focus on Chichester community are welcomed

Readers see in print and online what the steady trickle of those leaving the Labour Party have to say about the culture of abuse.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 9:09 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 10:10 am

They can come to their own judgement as to whether this is down to a single constituency party, as Kevin Hughes suggests (letters, last week), or represents a wider problem.

It is interesting that he chooses to defend Labour on the basis of its ideology and ideas though.

He is right that the welfare state would not exist without intellectual underpinning.

That underpinning of course was the report produced in 1942 by Liberal MP and economist William Beveridge, for the wartime coalition government.

I recognise that it was implemented by a Labour government (oh, that Labour had such visionary leaders today).

I believe in pluralist politics. No single party is right (or wrong) all the time. It’s not much of an achievement to win votes against a minority government. But there is more to opposition than voting ‘no’ and heckling. As for thinking and ideas, where are they?

To give just one example. Labour have talked about a ‘National Education Service’ for over two years. But what is it? Where is the substance behind the warm and fuzzy slogan?

By contrast, Liberal Democrats have a detailed policy (Every Child Empowered: Education for a Changing World ) which supports our schools financially, empowers staff to teach, levels the playing field between Local Authority Schools and Academies, removes some of the pointless tests, replaces Ofsted, broadens the curriculum to give pupils life skills they’ll need and gives new focus on pupil mental health and wellbeing.

Perhaps it’s because we’re a small party (though growing, and with a recent history of winning local by-elections). Perhaps it’s because we’re not at war with ourselves. But we are full of ideas. If you like elected representatives to be civil, opposition to be constructive, if you want a party that will work with others to focus on communities, real sustainability and long-term thinking, the Liberal Democrats will welcome your support – as well as your ideas.

Jonathan Brown, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Chichester, Stein Road, Southbourne