My campaigning priorities

February 13, 2020 5:02 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The tiniest of silver linings in that of the Tory majority and the near enough certainty that this Parliament will sit for at least the next four years, is that we now have time to be strategic. We have time to plan.

The fact that our leadership race will not take place until the summer also allows us time to pause, reflect, and consider what we need going forward.

How do we reconnect with the voters and who will be the right person to do that for us?

We have had some spectacularly good leaders, but the next will also have to be someone special to break the cycle in which we find ourselves trapped.

They will need Tim's ability to hold and inspire a crowd.

The current law on assisted dying offers no dignity, choice or compassion to those in the final stage of their life.

Jo's steely determination and vision.

But most of all they will need something of that particular gift which both Paddy and Charles had in spades. Empathy.

That indefinable ability to connect with people on a level that says: "I understand, I know, I appreciate what you are going through and I'll do my damnedest to fix it".

Over the next few months we will have the time and space for that leader to emerge.

In the meantime I will concentrate on three progressive, liberal campaigns that will make a real difference to peoples' lives.

This first is to push for a change in the law on assisted dying.

The current law offers no dignity, choice or compassion to those in the final stage of their life. It also criminalises family members who support their loved one's wishes.

We often pride ourselves on how far have come as a liberal, progressive society that treats everyone with compassion and equality. But, at the end of their lives, we're letting them down.

The prescription of medicinal cannabis is legal but many sufferers of pain are still not getting easy access to the relief they need.

Then there is cannabis.

The prescription of medicinal cannabis is legal. It was hard won, but the law remains so overly rigid and ambiguous that many sufferers of pain are still not getting easy access to the relief they need.

The only way to properly solve this is to introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis.

This would also protect young people, free up precious police time by breaking the grip of criminal gangs and raise an estimated £1.5bn, which could be used to treat addiction and fight crime.

A common sense, grown up and evidence-based policy that would radically change the lives of thousands of people.

Just like changing the law to allow asylum seekers the right to work while waiting for their applications to be processed.

A simple change in the law would help the economy and, more importantly, allow people who have risked everything the opportunity contribute fully to our society, and give them the dignity they deserve.

They are liberal, radical and what we need.