Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lib Dems inch toward the right combination.

The Liberal Democrats in the UK have been moving over the last few years in a more and more libertarian direction. Now some top Lib Dem officials are urging the party to adopt legalisation of drugs as a policy. Lib Dem education spokeman Baroness Walmsley said that legalisation was a "no brainer" and "We have got to go along this direction." She argued that the last thing she wanted was children to take drugs "But also people should have the freedom to put into their bodies what they want without any more than they would want."

Chris Davies, Lib Dem member of the European Parliament, has been a long time campaigner for legalisation. At a fringe event for the Lib Dem national convention he urged members to lobby for a change in policy regarding drugs. He was supported by Inspector Jim Duffy, chairman of the Strathclyde Police Federation. Duffy said with legal drugs people know what it will do: "Lives could be saved if addicts purchasing regulated drugs could be sure of their strength and purity."

The party recently scrapped it's call for higher tax rates on the rich as well. The Lib Dems also want to cut some of the taxes that impact the poor the hardest. They want to replace these with green oriented taxes. Apparently they still need to understand the necessity to cut spending. But Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the party, says: "I think there is a recognition that we had to move on from high taxes. I think the attraction of being able to cut taxes for millions of people on middle and low incomes and being able to finance it in a responsible way helped members to decide [to support the new policy]."

One office holder for the party asked Campbell what all the new policies mean for the "beard and sandals" wing of the party. He replied that the question was based on "some rather superficial analysis which suggests social liberalism and economic liberalism are somehow alternatives." Instead he argued the two strands can be united into one.