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Lib Dems want to change the country

November 2, 2009

column-picture1Chris Huhne MP is the Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson.

He was on the infamous ‘Question Time’ panel last Thursday with Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP (who someone said to me this week reminded them of Quasimodo. Harsh but fair).

Chris’ view remains that it is better to drag the BNP into the sunlight of scrutiny and demonstrate how objectionable their beliefs are, than let them hide behind the notion that they are the victims of a liberal media and never get the airtime they deserve.

I agree with him. And whilst I have enormous admiration for our local Unite Against Fascism group, I differ over the issue of whether or not Griffin should have been allowed on to QT.

I met up with Chris Huhne two days after the show, and was able to tell him about how the BNP has targeted Hastings over recent weeks and months, and how local people have continued to reject them at the ballot box. He was impressed – and rightly so.

He, like me, realises that we cannot be complacent. The BNP are a danger. But in order to starve them of electoral success, we mustn’t get bogged down with questions about levels of publicity.

Rather we must address the key social problems that, in turn, make people receptive the hate that the BNP peddle. Whether or not we are tackling the poverty, the inequality, the infrastructure issues (for example social housing capacity) which the BNP manipulate for their own unpleasant purposes – these should be our key concerns.

Food for thought… But it was what Chris had to say about the Conservative Party and the forthcoming General Election which really set my Liberal Democrat pulses racing!

He is a great speaker. One of a frontbench team that is packed with talent.

Chris Huhne, Vince Cable, Paddy Ashdown, Shirley Williams, Charles Kennedy, all alongside Nick Clegg – they will be a formidable General Election outfit.

But it is the Conservatives who are getting the headlines at the moment. And Chris gave us an insight into his own experience of the Tory Party at Westminster – how there is an unpalatable sense of entitlement from Dave’s crew.

There is no doubt that the country wants a change of government. And no doubt either that the Conservatives think they are ready to occupy Number 10.

But the Conservatives offer fake change. Whether it be on parliamentary reform, MP expenses, the Environment, taxation policy.

The Conservatives can provide us with a change of government.

But in the words of Chris Huhne, only the Liberal Democrats will change the country.

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