Sunday, March 12, 2006

Socialist angry with UK's Liberal Democrats

The antiquated Socialist Party of Great Britain is upset that the Liberal Democrats have a new leader, Menzies Campbell, who is more sympathetic to free markets. Socialists don't like markets. They want to control people when they buy and when they sell and when the exchange with each other. Socialists have contempt for individuals and want to substitute their values for your's.

The Liberal Democrats, they say, have gone to the Right. It's absurd. They hae moved more toward liberty which the Socialists hate. The Lib Dems took a previously safe Labour Party in a recent election. The sad Socialists said this was because"of opportunistically outflanking Labour to the left with pretence at an anti-war stance, opposing attacks on civil liberties etc. On the other hand there has been a decided shift towards economic 'neo-liberalism', in other words right-wing Thatcherism."

Good for the Lib Dems. Labour ceased being a party that supported civil liberties under Blair. The Conservatives ceased being a party of free markets under Major. If the Lib Dems can bring these views back to the forefront they deserve some support.

The Liberal Democrats recently published a book, The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism. The BBC says the book calls for "choice and private sector innovation in public services." The party's Treasury spokesman, David Laws, said the party should reclaim "some of the traditional building blocks of liberalism" and that it should be true "to its Liberal tradition". He notes the party has opposed illiberal assaults on civil liberties but had not stood "against the nanny state". Laws had also said the party made a mistake when it shunned the economic liberalism of Thatcher.

Ros Wynne-Jones, in the Mirror, is particularly unhappy with the Lib Dems as well. He claims: "The Liberal Democrats may seem a viable, anti-war alternative to Labour, but scratch the surface and you'll find a party that supports privatisation, wants to tear down the NHS and whose proposed economic reforms would hurt Britain's very poorest." Anyone naive to think state intervention helps the "very poorest" has a screw loose. But what he does show is that Liberal Democrats are moving in a direction that takes them toward the true meaning of liberalism: pro-peace; pro-social freedom, pro markets. They may not be there yet but these steps are a good sign.

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