A former Liberal Democrat chief who has left the party to put ‘local people before national politics’ says he is gaining headway in support for a new local campaign.
Richard Rowles, former Test Valley chair of the Liberal Democrats resigned last week out of his frustration at party policies and created the ‘Andover Alliance’.
The 42-year-old called a meeting outside the Guildhall on Monday to rally support for a ‘new dawn in Andover’ with 14 people coming along to find out more about the movement.
Although the plans also include releasing a manifesto in stages over the next few months, it isn’t quite a party in the narrowest legal sense of election law that is intended because Richard Rowles has also said he will be standing as an independent.
On leaving the Liberal Democrats, Richard Rowles had said:
The people of Andover deserve more, as the Andover Lib Dems are falling short of the mark I’ve decided to become and independent and cast aside the dogmas of national party politics and provide real opposition to the status quo.
I’m not going to delve fully into the rights and wrongs of the falling out in the local party, but will rather just comment on the point about “dogmas of national party politics”.
The political outlook that informs Liberal Democrats – values such as wanting to maximise the freedom people have to live their lives as they wish, recognising that this requires both support and resources as well as legal freedoms – is very much relevant to how local councils should be run.
Whether you call it party politics or not, anyone making decisions about how a local council should influence its local area is making decisions about political philosophy. It’s much better, both for the clarity of your own decision making and for the knowledge of the voters, to be upfront about what your values are.
Political labels help, rather than hinder, with that.