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Day: October 17, 2011

Lib Dems – Stick a fork in us – we’re done

Well it’s been fun. 1988 seems like only yesterday – well actually no it doesn’t – it seems like a bloody long time ago. I was only five when the SDP and the Liberals joined forces to form the party I would grow up to join. In 1988 I don’t think I had read all the manifestos and put together my political thoughts. I did though sing in the playground, ‘Maggie Thatcher put her in a bin, put the lid on sellotape her in, if she pops out kick her in the kick woo, glory glory Maggie Thatcher’s dead’. It impresses me that someone knew this ryhme and that it spread. It displeases me how immature I was though. I was only five I will contest. However that was the year our party formed but now it’s all over.

As The Hollies would say…

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

So true Allan. The road has been long and the twists and turns have been many. No-one expected that party would ever really infiltrate those in power. We had hopes and ambitions but they were just that. In 1997 Paddy Ashdown made strides and put us firmly in the third party position.

We had hopes of a referendum on electoral reform but Tony Blair would renege on his promise. Then in 2010 the chance was grasped. A perfect storm of no-one trusting Labour on the economy (well no-one relatively speaking) and no-one trusting the Tories on anything (again no-one relatively speaking led to a hung parliament. The Lib Dems stepped in and went into a coalition with the Tories and helped put parts of their manifesto into action for the first time. It was a joyous moment but then it led us to where we are today…

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me

We had the welfare of the nation in mind. Putting the nation before our own interests was how we perceived it. Some however did not. They said the Lib Dems sold out to have a ministerial car. They truly believe(d) that the people at the top of the party would sell out all their principles just to look big.

The burden of that is great and the burden of tuition fees is one that we carry with the weight hanging around our necks. We thought we could get closer to where we wanted to be – in a freer and fairer society but no, it wasn’t to be.

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

The sadness that fills my heart that the dream is over is taking over my senses. The party that didn’t stand for the working class person nor did it stand for the middle or upper classes – it just stood for people. The party that believed that we were all born equal and deserved to be treated the same.

It wasn’t robbing from the rich to give to the poor and nor was it formed with the intention of keeping all the money for the rich and kicking the poor whilst they were down. It was formed to bring a third way where everyone could be who they wanted to be and there would be no stigma’s. It was a dream but the alarm clock has gone off and now I’m wide awake in a land of only two political parties.

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

The road has been long. It has been pounded day and night by many in those 23 years. The party grew both in terms of members and in terms of the popular vote. MPs may have gone down in 2010 but the influence has gone way up. In the build up to the election prominent political journalists from all over the free world even wrote articles on could the party even win an outright majority in the 2010 General Election.

One leading poll even had the Lib Dems on top at one point in the election campaign. Times they were a changing but the burden of not being Labour or the Tories weighed us down. People didn’t know what we would be like in power and they were scared. They hated the foreigners and the Lib Dems kinda liked them. They hated the EU but the Lib Dems gave it the thumbs up. People hated the Euro but the Lib Dems weren’t ruling it out and most of all people are scared by change. The Lib Dems offered change but was it the type of change people wanted?

The people voted with their engrained feelings rather than with their heads or their hearts and the dream died that sunny May day in 2010.

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

So long Lib Dems. You haven’t been a burden. You have been a ray of light in an otherwise overcast and depressing world of politics. You have stood up for people and not believed in one form of human over another. You believe that a kid from a council estate can be as great as one born with a silver spoon and that kid with a silver spoon could be as awful as the kid from a council estate. Backgrounds didn’t matter but people did. I believed in you.

However I read on twitter tonight that with the Lib Dems only getting 8% and 9% respectively in a poll in 2011 – which is three and a half years before the country goes to the polls again in terms of the House of Commons – means that the party is finished. I didn’t know it was so cut n dry and so simple.

Some people are morons.

Keep the faith folks. We’re doing just fine…

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Reason the Death Penalty is wack #268 – The Dewey Bozella story

Ah the Death Penalty. The most extreme of sentences that can be given out by a Court of Law. In the main most Lib Dems believe that the sentence is unjust and is too far. Some don;’t but that is their call. However the majority of people in the UK would be far more open to the return of the sentence in UK law compared to those in the Lib Dem bubble. The electorate or the General Public – either/or – are far more open to mob rule and the ending of someone’s life.

Personally I’m very much against it. You can make prison a pretty unpleasant experience if you like but ending the life of another human being on purpose without their consent is just plain wrong. Yes there are some evil people out there who probably don’t deserve to share the same air as you or I but who are we to say that they don’t deserve the right to life? Just because one person is evil and one isn’t doesn’t say to say that the evil person is any less human than the person who isn’t.

Anyway we get on to the case of Dewey Bozella. He’s a 52 year-old man who made headlines at the weekend for winning his first (and according to him) only professional boxing fight. Nice story but when you look deeper the reason it made headlines is because he has spent 26 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The murder of an 82 year-old woman. The reason the conviction was quashed? It came to light that the Dutchess County district attorney had failed to disclose crucial evidence which would have proved Bozella‚Äôs innocence.

So the local DA had the evidence that would have proved his innocence but they decided not to disclose this. We aren’t talking a corrupt regime here – we are talking the supposed land of the free. If in the USA you can have people who whilst maybe not bent – but certainly aren’t straight in positions of power then there will always be miscarriages of justice.

A case I will always point to is the case involving Durham County’s District Attorney Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse Rape case. I wonder how people would have reacted had that story been in the UK and been more prominent. There are plenty of people I know who were ready to convict the accused before due process had been reached. When the actuals facts and details came out the case collapsed and the men walked free but it goes to show that a DA might not just have justice at the forefront of their minds. They have political and racial issues to tend to as well.

Dewey Bozella was never sentenced to the death penalty but had he lived in another state then he may well have done. He didn’t commit any crime on the day in question and even though he lost 26 years of his life through no fault of his own – he still had a life and when he walked free to had a life to get back to. If he was put to death then what?

I suppose it comes down to this. If even one innocent person is put to death wrongly then the death penalty is just not on. I don’t see there to be any way you can argue against it. I see people say that the death penalty should be for those who ‘truly deserve it’ and for those we are ‘100% sure did the crime’ – well a jury was sure this man did the crime. All jury’s are sure the defendant did the crime otherwise they would convict.

Sadly a miscarriage of justice isn’t a headline any more – it happens every single day in courts up and down the country and all over the world. There are people who act for reasons beyond that of justice. You can never be 100 sure about any conviction where the defendant has protested their innocence. There will always be that small seed of doubt in the back of your mind. Is there evidence that hasn’t been put before the court? Is the evidence all accurate and not contaminated?

There will always be questions and for that reason the death penalty is not the way forward.

Guido Fawkes or Paul Staines as he is otherwise known launched an e-petition for a debate on the restoration of capital punishment in the UK a few months ago in a blaze of publicity that was picked up on by many newspapers. With several MPs backing him it seemed to have a chance but they needed 100,000 signatures on the e-petition and as of writing the blog the count stands at 21,950. This makes me happy.

Dewey Bozella – another man whose life story is another reason why the death penalty is not for me.

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