Its funny. I’m not a massively political person but, today, I have never been happier to have political ideas, political thoughts, political leanings.
Quite often I don’t say much about which way I lean either. Today, I could not be prouder to be a paid up member of the Liberal Democrat party. I have just listened to a speech by our elected leader, Tim Farron, and it made me want to cry. Not because I disagreed with him, quite the contrary, it was because I agreed with every word he said. He talked about housing, the refugee crisis and businesses and I lapped it up. He spoke straight to the heart of me and what I believe.
Tim said we need to focus on housing in this country and trying to undo the damage that has been done to social housing in the past and still is being done today. In the 1980s Mrs Thatcher sold off council housing, promoting the home ownership mantra. Today David Cameron and the Conservatives are doing exactly the same thing, it’s just that this time he is trying to sell off Housing Association properties. Why? Why this fascination with owning your own home? Why not do as Tim suggests and invest more money in social housing and not less. I couldn’t care less about owning my own home, just as long as I have somewhere safe and secure to live and that my family has somewhere safe and secure to live then I’m happy. Why should I need to own my own home? Don’t you want to have something you can pass on to your children, I hear you say. Well, as a disabled person, owning my own home sounds like a really bad idea, not a good one if I’m honest. If, as I expect will happen, I end up needing to go into residential accommodation such as a care home, my family would be forced to sell any property I own to pay for my care. I wouldn’t be able to pass it on to them anyway. Not much of a legacy then. And owning my own home is not going to help me much in the long term either. It’s not like I’m going to need it when I’m dead.
And then there is the refugee crisis. As Tim said, we need to show a little more humanity. These people are fleeing from a war zone, in fear of their lives and their family’s lives. They are not trying to get to Britain to sponge off our benefits. They are trying to get somewhere, anywhere, where they, and their families, can feel safe. Somewhere they, and their families, can feel like they have a future. Somewhere where they, and their families, will not have bombs dropping on them day in, day out. Why can’t we open our arms and invite them in, not try to build walls and barriers, not turn them away and tell them they are not our problem. These people aren’t walking thousands of miles, risking their lives clinging to leaky, overcrowded unseaworthy vessels, paying every penny they have to people traffickers just to claim our meagre Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit, they are trying to get away from the unspeakable lives they have been forced to live in blood-soaked terror.
Then there are the home-grown businesses we need to haul ourselves out of the financial deficit that has been blighting this country for many years. Why can’t we invest in the future? Sure, it’ll will cost us in the short term but it’s the future we should be thinking about. Tim said we need to invest in business in order to prosper as a country and I agree. Over the last few decades we have seen town centres stripped of their character, their individuality and premises either being abandoned and left to rot or bought up by foreign multinationals. Why can’t we support smaller, local businesses and help them prosper rather that spend all our money in the big superstores. All we’re doing at present is making massive profits for firms that want to please their shareholders, we’re not helping to improve our local communities. Why can’t we support the regeneration of our towns and villages and help make them the places we remember from our own childhoods and the places we want our own children to remember with pride when they are older too.
This country has so many problems at the moment. So many issues that need to addressed by a party that wants to change things for the better. After listening to Tim’s speech I’m even more convinced than I was that the only party that can do that is the Liberal Democrat Party. I might not be able to do much from my sick bed but I’m going to do what I can to promote the party and the leader I believe in and do my best to ensure that we can continue to be a force for good on the British political stage.