How, asks “the maverick” Austin Mitchell, did the party of Asquith
degenerate into a sanctimonious anti-democratic rabble?
He might well ask. “I‘m so old I can remember the Liberal Party, a party of the masses not the classes, of social reform and a brave northern non-conformist tradition of independence. All that still lingered in my early political life as I went on my meat round wearing a yellow rosette in the 1950 election.
“What’s happened since is a sad decline into showbiz. The party of principle became a bucket for protesters to spit into and long years of exclusion led to desperation with pavement politics, dirty local politicking, a party swerving from side to side to clutch votes. This was a party built on a con, promising every good thing if they came to power but never could.
“The Liberals became sanctimonious, always right because they were unable to admit they were wrong. They opposed an increase in student fees then supported a three-fold increase
were anti-nuclear but authorised the nuclear white elephant of Hinkley Point, demanded Proportional Representation but failed to insist on it in the Coalition Agreement, then fell silent as they realised that a more representative Parliament would be a Brexit Parliament.
“The greatest achievement of this new Liberal hypocrisy was bringing Thatcher’s neo-liberalism to power and supporting Osborne’s austerity while lamenting the disastrous consequences of both, although getting liberal bums in ministerial cars did become a stepping stone to highly-paid jobs for their leaders.
“You could call it a mixed record but now it’s capped by bawling “Bollocks to Brexit” as the party which once fought for a better (and more virtuous) Britain changes to one of “My Europe, Right or Wrong” in its desperation to defend the last stage they have to strut on, by defending every folly the EU embarks on in its efforts to build a European empire the people of Europe don’t want.
“The EU is attempting to build unity by the backdoor through monetary union. This has been disastrous for the weaker economies, most spectacularly for Greece, but Liberals support it enthusiastically. They urged Britain to join the ERM. When that threatened ruin they demanded a move to the narrower bands. They then clamoured to join the euro and now ignore the unemployment and misery it’s brought to the weaker economies. Indeed they’ll see it as a logical step if we stay in the EU, as they want.
“If Liberalism were a product, it would be prosecuted under the Sale of Goods Act. But this is politics where their new, bossy boots head girl can denounce Boris but refuse to move a vote of confidence, demand a “Government of National Unity” but refuse to serve under the Leader of the Opposition, pose as democratic but reject the verdict of a referendum Liberals once supported.
“Some might say all’s fair in politics and war. I’d say it’s all illiberal bollocks. Either way, it’s a shame to see a party which set out to build a better Britain under the noble Asquith Government and once urged bringing democracy down to people, communities, councils and regions, proposing to transfer it up to a European empire neither the British nor the European people want”.