Whilst I wasn’t tagged in this meme I thought it was more than interesting and I would implore all Lib Dems (not just in the blogosphere) but all Lib Dems to sit down for a few minutes and think about their values and how they mesh with the party.
The Liberal Democrats stand for freedom for every individual – freedom from poverty, ignorance and conformity. – AW
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. – RF
First of all I think I should look at what I stand for – and why I think my values reflect those of liberals and in turn the Liberal Democrats. For me the most important thing in politics and in life is that everybody should be treated as an equal and that life should not be dictated by what opportunities people get. It shouldn’t matter if you were born with a silver spoon or if you were born in a bathroom stall at Heathrow. Every single person deserves to have every opportunity to fulfill their dreams and ambitions.
You see I’m 29 and I have a dream and I have ambition. Now whilst that dream and ambition seems a long way off I am slowly making steps towards making at least one part of that dream happen. If you ask every single person you’ll see different dreams and ambitions but often life gets in the way whether we like it or not. As an (I suppose) adult my dreams are now less fanciful than when I was growing up. However I still have a dream and I strive to make my life more to how I’d like it.
So it is clear one of my strongest drives is education – and not just education in making people clever – but education to make people more understanding and an education system that caters for all and doesn’t just pigeonhole young people into getting exam qualifications. I know asking people at 11 when they want to do and then building an education around that is a fruitless experience as people will change their minds. Heck look at my university Journalism course and only two of the 40 people still make their primary living within the journalism industry as far as I’m aware (I suppose it may be more but only by one or two).
However when we are young we dream and we should never be told that anything is impossible. We shouldn’t tell someone that they can’t grow up to be whatever they want if they want it hard enough and are willing to work hard at it. How many of us sit there some days and dream of doing something else? I know I do and by the time we have decided that often we have commitments that stop us from pursuing our dreams.
So to sum up – opportunity is something that burns a fire in my belly.
Another thing is that people should have the freedom to choose however they live their life. I know in a large way we do now but so many of us live our lives with our main aim is not to be happy but to be secure. This goes back to the feeling of people being allowed to pursue their dreams. I know I am – nor is any political party – ever going to do away with the concept of money but I work to keep a roof over my head and to pay the bills. I don’t work to enjoy my life and yet I know I have it pretty good compared to others.
We need enterprising ways for society not to look down upon any other section of society for whatever reason – be in colour, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, income, benefits or anything else I haven’t mentioned. No one person is born better or worse than the next. Not one. Even in my tentative steps in this world I have seen so much prejudice for so many different reasons and it depresses me greatly.
I could ramble on and on but I need to be succinct (only about two people in the world will know why that word is so funny to me) so I need to sum up what the Liberal Democrats are to me:
The Liberal Democrats stand for ensuring that every single person has the same opportunities in life to pursue their dreams without the fear of being treated unfairly or unlawfully. If we are all treated with the same level of basic dignity by everyone then prejudice will disappear.
Lastly I just want to add a quick thought about taxation as it sadly has a large effect on all of our lives. I have no issue with taxes as long as that money is going towards building a fairer society. I don’t mind taxes if education standards are increased even if I’m never having kids. I don’t mind paying taxes if we have great hospitals that are free at the point of use. I don’t mind paying taxes to ensure we live in a clean and safe environment.
People should pay their fair share and it is right that those with more money should pay higher taxes. It is not right that these people though are taxed to the level that it would actually pay to avoid tax or to earn less. Tax should not be an ideological thing but more about ensuring more money is in the pot to provide the services to create a fairer society and closing the gap between the have’s and have not’s. For example the 45p tax rate doesn’t rile me up if indeed it does lead to more money recouped than by a 50p tax rate which is what the economists are saying it will (due to more people paying it and not moving themselves/their money overseas). Tax is not about fleecing the rich but it is about finding the best way to provide the services everyone needs and deserves.
With that I shall stop but yes equality and the freedom to pursue dreams whether young or old but education – and finding a better way to nurture young talent, inspire young minds and developing a more tolerant society is where I would start with what makes me fired up about politics and where I would love to see the Lib Dems reflect on when they look at what they do in government – and both national and local levels.
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