Selasa, 16 September 2008

How Liberal are the Liberal Democrats

Mark Littlewood, former Head of Press for the Party, knows how to create a story. His new venture, the think tank Liberal Vision, has produced two reports recently. Yesterday saw the launch of 'The Cameron Effect' which looked at how many MPs might be under threat from the resurgent Conservative Party. This apparently provoked and altercation in the bar last night between Mark and Torbay MP Adrian Sanders. It resulted in Mark ending up on his back in a bush.

Today, the organisation released the results of a report looking at how liberal the Lib Dem MPs are. Also at the fringe was MP Malcolm Bruce. Liberal Vision deliberately ignored economic liberalism which, in Mark's words, has moved a long way since the adoption of the Make it Happen document yesterday. It also ignored the issue of civil liberties where the Party is, in Mark's words, 'pretty near impeccable'.

Instead, they looked at the personal freedoms strand of liberalism and made their judgment based on votes in Parliament and the signing of various EDMs. This was perhaps a flawed and limited basis, but still provided interesting reading.

The results of the survey showed Lembit Opik as the most liberal MP with a score of 55%. Second was David Laws with 50% and then Paul Keetch on 45%. There were then a host of MPs on 35-44%. At the bottom of the pile was John Leech on 22.2% - he was the only MP to sign an EDM calling for the re-classification oif cannabis. Above him came Mike Hancock and Vince Cable on 22.5%.

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