Friday, 5 April 2013

Resignation round-up 1

This will be an occasional feature to keep track of resignations. See the Resignation log above for an attempt at a fuller list of statements, although it doesn't include defections to Labour or the Tories.  (Email to let me know about anyone who is missing!)

1) Greg Foxsmith, Islington councillor and lawyer, is yet another loss over the Secret Courts issue.  He becomes an independent councillor.  His statement encapsulates how the national party so often undermines local networks:
"I am acutely aware that the local party in Islington are united in not supporting the 'Justice and Security' Bill. I recall excellent Conference speeches from Bridget Fox and our MEP Sarah Ludford in Brighton which helped carry the motion that the Liberal Democrat Party would reject secret Courts.

I know their views have not changed, and they will argue that the best way to influence or change policy for the better is within the Party. For them, and many others, I believe that to be true, and I wish those who campaign within the Party every success. There are also other campaigns and values which can still be fought at National Level as a member as a Liberal Democrat member.

For me, however, civil liberties have always been a priority and something for which I have been associated personally and professionally."

2) Dave Smithson, a former Liverpool councillor, has let his party membership lapse.  As he puts it:  "I've just sponsored a guide dog puppy called Pluto - more rewarding use of £5pm than party membership!"

Yet another case of the Lib Dems' loss being civil society's gain.

It is worth noting the responses of local party representatives (Paula Keaveney in Liverpool and Terry Stacy in Islington): both characterised by sadness rather than anger.  It makes me wonder whether local parties should think about instituting 'ex membership secretaries' to keep in friendly touch with former members...

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  1. As an ex-member of long standing I do think it would be a good idea, and it is nice to hear of mature and sensitive responses. Sadly, as my local chair chose to mark my departure with an open and extremely offensive tirade on Facebook, and who refuses even to acknowledge me in the street, it will be a very long time before I will ever feel comfortable about rejoining my local party. Which is a shame, as I have wondered if I did the right thing.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry that has been your experience. I'm know that you're not alone in this, although most of the resignations I'm aware of have been conducted respectfully on both sides. Local parties still need to earn respect, whatever the national leadership does.

    Have you thought about joining the Social Liberal Forum as an Associate Member (i.e. not a member of the party)?