Pointing fingers at the government and repeating, “Exit from Brexit” is not enough. We need a full programme that offers hope.
I am reminded of the golden memories of he most successful campaign I was involved in, the Newbury by-election. This took place when the Tories were in trouble.
A key to this campaign was the Newbury Declaration. a summary of the then current mess and an offer of hope.
We need a similar declaration now. I give an example below. I call it the Brighton Declaration, ready for Conference, though maybe this is too late.
This is a draft attempt, it could be better but it is a start.
THE BRIGHTON DECLARATION
The government is out of control, divided and arguing in public
The Labour Party is in a world of its own and not offering strong opposition
The country is divided after a referendum that was badly managed, involved a mix of lies and fear and overspending with Russia and right wing elements in the USA interfering
Too many people in the UK are struggling with poor housing, poor services and lack of money.
A small minority are creaming the assets of the country
We have lost our compassion for the underprivileged and those escaping war.
Backed by the right wing press we blame the EU for all of our self-inflicted woes
On the major issue of the day, Brexit, the negotiations are going nowhere
THE COUNTRY NEEDS LEADERSHIP – LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WILL PROVIDE THAT AND:
Offer a second Brexit referendum when the outcome of negotiations is known and we can see the way ahead.
Ensure that referendum is conducted fairly, no lies, no excessive funding and no foreign interference.
Identify what changes we want in the EU if we remain
Immediately tackle the housing crisis, and in particular the lack of social housing
Ensure that all vacancies are advertised in the UK and not just overseas
Provide more skill training and retraining
Reform the tax system: in particular replace business rates and council tax, to be replaced by a fairer Land Value Taxation, and tackle tax avoidance
Develop a long term funding solution for the NHS and Social Care
Remove the split between NHS funding and Care funding by councils
Develop an economy that tackles climate change
Allow a public company to bid for rail franchises and exercise more control over all companies providing public services
Devolve central spending to regions
Reform parliament, the House of Lords and the voting system
Develop an effective education system with no more free schools and academies
* David Becket has been a Lib Dem member since 1992 and is a former councillor on Berkshire County Council, West Berkshire Council and Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council