Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Would you behave like that if The Queen was still there?

Today was The Queen’s Speech. You can read what the Liberal Democrats thought of it here. I am always a fan of the occasion – I like the pomp and ceremony, and it’s one of the few times that Parliament is presented in anything like a dignified fashion.

Sadly it didn’t last long, as the “We’re better than you!” “No you’re not!” posturing of the post-speech debate made for what I thought was fairly depressing viewing. David Cameron resorted to some pretty shameful personal attacks on the Prime Minister, and attacking the Government’s record without giving any real detail about what he or his party propose. Mr Blair’s rebuttal was equally short on substance (although The Queen had done much of that for him earlier).

Thankfully Sir Menzies Campbell stressed what Liberal Democrats would do right as well as what the Government were doing wrong. I think that The Freedom Bill and the repeal of obsolete statutes will go a long way to restoring faith in Parliament and the power of legislation to combat problems. Liberal Democrats support the rule of law, and the freedoms of all of us to operate within it. We want a society that is free, not one that is bound by ill-thought-out and numerous pieces of ineffective legislation.

The Liberal Democrat approach will also address what Mr Cameron calls "the politics of fear." We can solve society's problems with well-crafted legislation that attacks the causes of problems. We don't have to resort to creating a law today that doesn't work, and then creating another one tomorrow that also doesn't work. With sensible legislation that protects freedoms whilst enforcing good laws, we will have success in the long run. And we will beat the forces that threaten our world, without falling into the illiberal trap that I sometimes think we are being led into. I strongly believe that this is the right way forward.

There is no need for Mr Cameron's negativity, and no need for the school playground shouting that we saw today. Why don't politicians from the Labour and Conservative parties trust us to decide for ourselves? Why do they stoop so low to present themselves as the least bad at governing? The Liberal Democrats offer a different approach that does trust people, and does offer a real alternative.

I'm often told that the role of the Opposition is to oppose. I would say that the role of the Opposition is to put forward an alternative view. I only oppose an idea when I've got a better one. On today's evidence, Sir Menzies and the Liberal Democrats do have a better one.


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