A friend asked me yesterday if I wanted to have my picture taken cleaning the ‘Richmond’ sign and I suggested that it may be a good idea to have a picture of our PPC doing it. He said that it was a bit trivial and the sign is very tatty. He’s probably right but the state of the sign got me thinking.
There is no pride any more. The sign is tatty because of the cost of maintaining it and it’s not seen as important. But these things are important. They send a signal to the residents and, eventually, to the world If you let the infrastructure get run down because politicians don’t care the residents see that too and they don’t care either. We need to change that.
We need to be proud of where we live, we need to be proud of what we do and we need to be proud to be British. But not in a nationalistic, jingoist way – I am proud to be British, I am proud that we try to set the right example in the world… and I am proud to be European.
However, we have become a nation of moaners. We moan about the NHS, we moan about education, we moan about the state of the roads and we moan about politicians. Why do we do that? Because we’re not involved. Politicians do stuff TO us not FOR us. We feel that we’re not being listened to and we’re right. That’s part of the reason for the Referendum vote but far from learning from this Theresa May has gone hell bent on her way of doing it. She is listening to a narrow faction that can cause her trouble. They don’t have the interests of the UK in mind but their own narrow self-interest.
The Liberal Democrats have a proud history of ‘doing the right thing’. Nick Clegg did the right thing in 2010 and it nearly destroyed our party. He put the good of the country over narrow self-interest. We should be proud of that. We should be proud that we are the only party that is fighting against hard Brexit.  We shouldn’t be apologetic or ashamed of fighting for what we believe in. We need to show our pride and passion for doing the right thing. But in doing that we need to take into account the real fears of the people who voted Leave. They have a deep distrust of politicians. They have been promised the world and life is about to become even harder for them with rising food and energy prices. They will blame the politicians which is why Theresa May picked on us in her General Election announcement. It’s not her fault all this stuff is happening it’s the pesky Liberal Democrats.
Our supporters will accept the logic of what we say but the unengaged voters will not. We need emotive messages for them not ‘facts’. They distrust ‘facts’. They distrust politicians. They distrust us. The Leave campaign painted a rosy picture of £350M a week going to the NHS.
We need our own rosy picture too. A picture of people being proud of where they live, a picture of a happy, friendly society where people look out for each other. And you know what’s good about that? It’s what Liberal Democrats do up and down the country every day!
Be proud of that!

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