For once, we have had good weather for our Bassetlaw & Sherwood Liberal Democrats Summer Barbecue. In the past few years we have had to cancel as the weather turned against us but today we had glorious sunshine as met up for a few hours of chat over burgers, sausages & some drinks.
Being in the Lib Dems is not all about elections (both for public office & internal positions) and earnest policy discussion. While we never lose sight of the serious purpose behind what we do, making the lives of those around us better, we also know that if we are not having fun being Lib Dems, then we won’t have members and volunteers willing to give up their time and energy to help us achieve our aims.
One of the features of our current spectacular growth in members has been the number of “Lib Dem Pint” (or variations on the theme) events that have been held across the country both to welcome new members and to re-enthuse existing members. Our barbeque today was along similar lines as will our own Lib Dem Pint next Saturday afternoon (23rd July) at The Admiral Rodney in Calverton, come and join us for a drink and a chat.
In this summer of political surprises one amazing fact is that in Tim Farron, the Lib Dems now have the longest serving Leader of any national political party. Not only do we have the doyen of party leaders, but we also have a united party, with a definite idea of what we want to achieve (keep the UK in the EU) and lots of new members engaging with us to help do justthat.
Who would have thought that after leading his party to a surprise win at last year’s General Election, David Cameron would be gone within 15 months? Last year I published a post here on what happens after unexpected election wins (The unintended consequence of election surprises) and nothing that has happened since May 2015 has made me change my mind.
I wish Theresa May well in her new job, trying to find a way through the impasse the Brexit Referendum has left us in will be difficult. Will she invoke Article 50 to start the 2-year countdown to leaving the EU, which will almost certainly cause a deep recession in the UK or will she find a way to renege on the Referendum decision? Either way is fraught with problems and dangers. Perhaps the best way is to call a new General Election and get fresh mandate from the public when she has a better idea of what terms we may get if we leave the EU.
Meanwhile, Labour seem intent on pulling itself apart, with its members intent on keeping a leader who not only cannot command the respect of his party’s MPs but is just about unelectable as a potential Prime Minister. The divide in Labour is getting deeper as each day passes and looks like it will end in a split with both sides fighting to be the ones who can keep the name & organisation of the party. Meanwhile, they ate leaving the country with a disorganised official opposition that is not holding the government to account.
Finally, a few words about the massacre of innocents in Nice on Bastille Day. Yet again we have witnessed an attack on people innocently enjoying themselves. I don’t know what was in the mind of the person who drove the truck, just as I can’t know what compelled the former soldier who shot 5 policemen in Dallas a couple of week ago do what he did, or the “quiet, retiring” gardener who murdered Jo Cox in Birstall last month. All I do know is that such violence solves nothing and only causes more hurt.
When I hear of such events (and they are occurring far too often in recent months all around the world) I often turn to a song by Nick Lowe sung by David Broza on his album East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem, called (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding. The video explains much of why this version of the song means so much to me with my connections to Israel and to the village that David Broza’s grandfather, Wellesley Aron, helped found in the Judean Hills near to the Kibbutz I lived on 30 years ago, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salem. The song’s title says it all, what is so funny about peace love & understanding?