miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Me: "Just think: in thirty years I'm going to be Shutty."
Him: "Nahhhhh... in thirty years you'll be Mick Taylor. Ten years after THAT you'll be Shutty*."
This little snippet of conversation I had recently with a LibDem activist from a neighbouring local party has been preying on my mind today, along with the maxim "all it takes to go from Liberal to Conservative is thirty years without changing a single opinion".

Both of the names mentioned above are people I would class as proper, dyed-in-the-wool Liberals. I also think it's fair to say that both of them have never stopped engaging with the world around them, with both younger and older people, and people from cultures not their own. They don't fit with the maxim because neither Mick not Shutty has ever stopped learning, growing, and changing. Neither of them has ever stopped paying attention. I'm not saying I agree with either of them on All Things, part of the point of this is that I don't**, but I know that any opinion either of them advances has been reached by deliberation, not a jerking knee.

There are people in the party, though, who aren't like that***. They only ever listen to people from their own cohort, and when they talk to people of different cohorts they talk at them not to them, and they start to become like the person in the maxim. They sit in their own little echo chamber, and if any person who doesn't agree with them in any way happens to come to their attention, they get very confused, scared and angry.
  • They start telling people that they aren't proper Liberals because they aren't doing as they are told****
  • They tell people who don't agree with their outdated views on x or y thing that they aren't proper Liberals.
  • Their war cry is "shut up and go deliver some leaflets"***** because people not of their cohort shouldn't contribute ideas, they should just be cannon fodder.
It's desperately, desperately sad. It drives people away from the party, and it hampers our campaigning ability, and it doesn't make anyone any happier, least of all the people who are confused, scared and angry and screaming about how nobody these days is a proper Liberal like wot they are.

So I hope that in thirty years I do turn into Mick, and then possibly after that Shutty, because the alternative is too awful and depressing to contemplate. But given my hatred of false binaries I'm hoping there's a middle way: when I grow up I think I'd like to be Pauline Nash. Or maybe Jeanette Sunderland.



* Shutty being Lord Shutt of Greetland, who has the most encyclopaedic knowledge of what has happened in Calderdale and it's predecessor areas in the Lib Dems and Liberals for the last fifty years. Mick Taylor being slightly younger and slightly more firebrandy.
** I've had political disagreements with both Mick and Shutty. Mostly, it was fun having a discussion with a person who genuinely wanted to actually discuss things and get to the truth of a matter, rather than shout down an opponent. Sometimes one of us will persuade the other, sometimes we'll agree to disagree. We always listen to each other, though.
*** thankfully not in Calderdale
**** which half a second's rational thought would tell them is a contradiction in terms
***** delivering leaflets, not canvassing, because we wouldn't want the people not of the echo chamber to actually talk to voters.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
When I grow up, I want to be my Dad.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Me too. :) (My own dad, I don't know yours.)

Your post

Date: Sunday, November 29th, 2015 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Quite flattered about your comments. Mick

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
I don't want to grow up.

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 06:44 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
The maxim is true, IMO - the key bit is "without changing a single opinion"...

Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 01:21 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I think the "shut up and go and deliver some leaflets, you proles" are in every organisation. I just wish they'd bugger off to the Conservatives (or Liberal Party here) where at least that's the actual philosophy.

Date: Sunday, November 29th, 2015 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sassy_scot
This made me laugh so much. It's also for some reason just made me think of Willie Rennie's political "parents" from when he was a student in Paisley and how he could turn into them one day. In a good way.

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