Daddy Alex has challenged Daddy Richard to come up with a brief statement of Liberal Democrat belief in fewer than a hundred and fifty words.
But stuff that, it's MY diary, so I'M having a go...
At a pinch, I THINK I can trim our core message down to:
“The Liberal Democrats stand for the freedom to live your life enjoying the rewards for your own endeavour*, governed by your own choices – with equality before the law; without harming others.”
(*and before anyone else has a go, that's "fruits of your labours" translated into language a Conservatory might understand!)
But I would wrote MORE than that (slightly) because... well. that's what I DO.
Okay, but here are reasons too:
(a) when Daddy Alex wrote “freedom for every individual”, I immediately thought of the way he always says that Liberalism works in EVER-EXPANDING CIRCLES, starting with the individual, but linking to family and community and wider and wider to the whole world. So I wanted to add that in.
(b) I wanted to make those circles go through TIME as well as SPACE, because that means including protection for the next generation, which is where the need for GREEN ACTION and FIXING the DEFICIT both come from.
and (c) I definitely wanted to include that bit from the Preamble about "poverty, ignorance, and conformity", because that in turn is a kind of a reference to Mr Beverage's evil “Five Giants”: Squalor, Ignorance, Want and Dec, Idleness, and Disease.
Though I suspect that NOWADAYS we combine into "Poverty" the giants of "Squalor" and "Want" and "Idleness" (by which of course Mr B meant "Joblessness" not "Laziness", little clue for Conservatories like Master Gideon "workers v shirkers" Osborne and Hard Labourites like Mr Liam "strivers v skivers" Byrne there); that "Sickness" means supporting the NHS which all Parties did at its creation and which all Parties still do (no matter what Hard Labour hubristically think about it being "theirs"); and I'm rather glad that we've added the evil of "Conformity" to the list.
So, I end up with:
“The Liberal Democrats stand for freedom.
Freedom from poverty, ignorance and conformity.
Freedom for every individual, family, group, community, society or nation.
Freedom from inheriting the financial and environmental mistakes of earlier generations.
Freedom to live your life enjoying the rewards for your own endeavour, governed by your own choices – with equality before the law; without harming others.
To make that freedom real needs both fairness and practicality; opportunity and compassion: an economy that works, but where everyone also pays their fair share.
The Liberal Democrats believe in a better future. That’s why Liberal Democrats are working to build a fairer, greener society and a stronger economy, enabling every person to live the life they want.”
I’d also add the following riders as “derived” beliefs that follow logically from the above:
Liberal Democrats believe that government should act to protect these freedoms, but cannot be a blanket solution to solve all problems. We also accept that government itself can be a threat to freedom, that no government always knows best, so everyone must have a better say in decisions.
We accept that governments need to raise taxes – in order to relieve poverty, to supply education, to provide a safe and supportive society, to nurture and sustain the environment, and to encourage personal growth and freedom of expression – so we say these should be raised as fairly and as simply as possible, with a tax system that is progressive, understandable and works to release locked up wealth to work for the nation.
We believe that everyone should be treated with dignity, protected when circumstances mean that they are unemployed, supported when they are unable to work, through age or disability, healed when they are sick. The Welfare State should free people to live lives free from the tyranny of dependence on their employer, making the labour market work for the individual while protecting from any failures of the free market, and enabling society to flourish by not wasting the potential of any individual.
So, the shortest form is 30 words, but the full thing has cut down Daddy's 158 words to, er, 323.
That WAS what he wanted, wasn't it?
Right, now I TAGSIE...
Auntie Jennie (Chaotic Good) for passion and heart;
Mr Mark Reckons (Lawful Neutral – for his saintly forbearance on House of Comments) for rock solid pragmatism and unshaking principle;
and I WAS going to tag Auntie Caron (Lawful Lovely) for the biggest smile and the soul of the Lib Dems... but Daddy got there first, so I will pick Uncle Andrew Hickey (Chaotic Sensible) for wisdom and sticking with the least worst Party instead!