Thursday, 12 June 2008

Add deliberation and debate and give a good stir

I'm really glad to hear that our local MP Nick Raynsford chose to abstain in yesterday's vote on 42 Days.

No-one could ever describe Nick of being a card-carrying member of the awkward squad. But in the end he said he was failed to be convinced there was an immediate case for this authoritarian and possibly unworkable piece of legislation.

I know many party members who feel really uncomfortable about the general direction we're going in, especially after the 10p debacle and the dog-whistle tactics we used in Crewe.

The general feeling seems to be an uncertainty, post Blair, of what we actually stand for and what our message is.

So I hope the party leadership gets a chance to read Compass Chair's Neal Lawson's think piece in this week's New Statesman making a pretty convincing case for social liberalism. I think democratising our public services and making them more locally accountable is a really exciting concept. Providing Voice and Choice!

Compass are also holding a one-day conference in London on Saturday entitled Born Free and Equal with a raft of speakers from the cabinet to NGOs, think tanks and unions. There are still a few places left for what should be a thought provoking day.

Jeese Jackson once said ''Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of democracy."

I think in the current climate what we need now are a few more people prepared to stir it up!

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