I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution.
I want to show my community better than ever what liberalism means in action.
So I’ll be working harder than ever in my constituency advice surgeries, helping local people with their financial problems, with their housing issues and working with local people to strengthen our communities, that we’re privileged to serve.
If that sounds like old-fashioned, grassroots, community politics, you’re hearing me.
Last December’s election was, on several levels, deeply depressing.
But flip it over. There’s actually a huge opportunity here for us, the Liberal Democrats.
Of course, we’ve a job to do, continuing to oppose Brexit. To remain Britain’s leading pro-European, internationalist party.
Yet that’s never been our sole purpose, has it? Liberalism is so much more.
We’ve always been a party determined to shake up the system.
Socially. Economically. Politically. Environmentally.
We know Liberal Democrats care passionately about tackling social injustice, creating opportunity, beating climate change.
The question for 2020 is can we show all that to the rest of the UK – our full Liberal purpose?
And that’s where you come in. With your New Year’s Resolution.
Will you join me, in showing your community what liberalism means, in action?
Just pick an issue and go and campaign on it – just like a Liberal Democrat.
If we’ve got a deal on that, there’s at least one deal in 2020 I’ll be able to back.
In Kingston and Surbiton, I’ll be running campaigns for better council homes – and more council housing, supporting my wife Emily, who’s leading the charge.
What are your campaigns going to be?
And we’ll run national campaigns too.
I want 2020 to be the year when Liberal Democrats champion climate action campaigns and show to people that tackling the climate emergency means better-paid jobs, world-class public transport and lower heating bills.
In 2020 the Liberal Democrats will take every opportunity to hold this appalling, right-wing, nationalistic Johnson government to account.
The poorest need us. The climate needs us. The union of the United Kingdom needs us.
So my Liberal Democrat friends – have you made that New Year’s Resolution?
Happy New Year.
In his own New Year message, Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie also addressed the point about the continuing importance of the Liberal Democrats:
Around the globe, dark currents have buffeted liberal democracy. Boris Johnson’s Brexit threatens to cut us off from our European neighbours, while Donald Trump’s trade wars and Twitter tirades threaten to undo America’s status as a global leader. Meanwhile from Hong Kong to Xinjiang, protestors and activists face brutal clampdowns. These are the challenges we must face up to over the next twelve months.
Closer to home there are huge challenges too. From long waits for mental health treatment to the bungled rollout of the new childcare entitlement, Liberal Democrats will highlight, debate and scrutinise the government so that everyone can rely on great public services that help them to build a brighter future.
In 2020, I want to see teachers who can get on with teaching without drowning in bureaucracy. I want to see doctors and nurses who have the resources they need to deliver the best quality care. And I want to see police officers who know they can get support when they are dealing with debilitating mental health issues.
If you believe in building a brighter future for people all across the UK, why not join us?
I hope you have a very happy new year.
2019 turned out in the end all too much like my whimsical prediction, but as Ed Davey quite rightly points out – there is still much for Liberal Democrats to do, and many prospects for success as we recover.
Best of luck with your own endeavours.
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