Liberal voices are needed now more than ever

Wednesday November 23rd 2016

John Ferry Liberal Democrat Chair

John Ferry, the new chair of the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale branch of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

John Ferry, the new chair of the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale branch of the Scottish Liberal Democrats writes a column for Midlothian View.

“I was honoured at the weekend to be elected chair of the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale branch of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, replacing the excellent Amanda Kubie, who will now focus on winning a much-deserved position as a councillor for Tweeddale East in next year’s local elections.

“One of my key aims in 2017 will be to expand our support base in the constituency. These are critical times in politics, when liberal voices will be needed more than ever.

“Nationalism is thriving. Politicians in Europe and the US are gathering support by manipulating patriotism to rally people against a group or an entity framed as a malevolent, foreign presence, with the European Union/migrants, Tories/Westminster, Mexicans/Muslims, all serving in different contexts as the existential threat. Since 2008 and the onset of the great recession this has become the recurring theme in established liberal democracies.

“With the election of Donald Trump in the US not long after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, the western liberal consensus – liberal internationalist institutions and frameworks underpinned by values of democracy and pluralism – is being shaken to its core. The US may be about to enter a period of illiberal democracy, the impact of which will be felt globally. The European Union – the epitome of a post-war, post-nationalist liberal order based on reaching out instead of retreating in – is at real threat of coming apart at the seams.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party in the UK that is consistently internationalist. We are the only party that has never succumbed to the easy lure of nationalism and identity politics to generate votes. We want the bonds of compatriotism within the UK and the EU to remain firm, and we are the only party that is credibly opposing a hard Brexit.

“If you also believe in political progress based on openness, tolerance and compassion, and if you too are concerned with the new politics of today, which falsely views the throwing up of barriers and greater exclusivity as the route to progress, then we want to hear from you.”

You can get in touch with the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale branch of the Scottish Liberal Democrats by emailing MSTLLibDems@gmail.com

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