'LIB-DEMS NOT IN THE MIDDLE'
Lymington Times – 5 October 1996
Desmond Swayne, my colleague in New Forest West, has done a public service in drawing to the notice of your readers (28 September) some of the dangerous policies of the Liberal Democrats.
Most people who vote for them wrongly assume that Liberal Democrat policies lie midway between those of the Conservatives and those of Labour. In general, however, they lie far closer to Labour's – and, in many cases, well to the Left of them.
Here are some examples of what they say on the crucial issue of preserving British sovereignty against domination by Europe:
- "the concept of national sovereignty is outdated and pooling of sovereignty is the only way to open up the possibility of effective political action. It inevitably requires the strengthening of the supranational institutions of the Community. To stir up fears of a United States of Europe is a populist red herring" (A Europe for Democrats, January 1989, p.2)
- "The argument about sovereignty is based on a myth and is a means in practice of clinging to nationalistic rights which are becoming less and less meaningful in the European Community." (Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Sir Russell Johnston MP, Hansard, 18th May 1989, Col. 529)
- "Conservatives are keen on talking about the sovereignty of Parliament ... personally, I find that concept rather obscene" (Liberal Democrat MP, Malcolm Bruce, Hansard, 15th November 1991, Col. 1365)
- "I do not believe that the nation state is anything other than a relatively recent historical invention. I do not believe that it will always remain ... I believe that throughout this decade and the next century the importance of the notion of the nation state will decline." (Paddy Ashdown MP, Hansard, 20th May 1992, col.291)
- "The United Kingdom cannot help shape the future of the European Community while it is led by a Government that does not share the goal of a United Europe." (Liberal Democrat Pocket Guide to Europe, September 1993, p.20)
- "I was in favour of a referendum on Maastricht. Why? Because I don't believe in the sovereignty of Parliament" (Paddy Ashdown MP, Breakfast with Frost, BBC1, 15th May 1994)
A month after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the Liberal Democrat Party Conference voted to slash our Defence Budget by half within ten years. Liberal Democrat Conferences have also voted in favour of legalising cannabis, prostitution, brothels and the supplying of contraceptive pills to girls as young as 11. None of these extremist policies currently features on Labour's agenda; but who knows what Mr Blair might have to concede as the price of Lib-Dem support for Labour in any "hung" Parliament after a General Election?
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Prospective Conservative Parliamentary Candidate
New Forest East