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Liberal Vision statement on Chandila Fernando defection

July 16th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

Liberal Vision is very disappointed to read that Chamali and Chandila Fernando are joining the Conservatives.  While we respect their personal decisions, we believe that liberalism is best served with the Liberal Democrats and that David Cameron’s party will severely disappoint anyone expecting a liberal agenda.

Questions must still be asked about the Conservatives’ underlying beliefs on immigration, constitutional reform, the EU and even civil liberties. Meanwhile Cameron avoids all matters of substance, such as how to balance the UK’s budget during and after the recession.

In the run up to 1997, some Liberal Democrats such as Andrew Adonis were similarly enticed by the rhetoric and electoral advantage of Tony Blair’s New Labour. Yet in spite of the wave of optimism that surrounded their election, New Labour quickly turned into the illiberal machine of old. Who can say that Cameron’s government, should it come to fruition, will not be equally or even more disappointing?

For clarification: Chandila Fernando resigned from the Liberal Democrats many months ago. In doing so he automatically gave up his ties with Liberal Vision and has not been involved in our work this year.

23 Responses to “Liberal Vision statement on Chandila Fernando defection”

  1. Richard Says:

    The problem is that the LibDems still contain a strong social democratic contingent.

    While the Tories have a strong authoritarian element they at least tend to be pro free market.

  2. Michael Heaver Says:

    If you lot are ever going to take on the social democratic contingent in the LibDems, you simply cannot afford defections of this calibre. Personally I think you’re on the losing team of a Party which is going to evolve into something very akin to New Labour.

  3. Laurence Boyce Says:

    You’re probably right Michael. Please send me a UKIP application form. [snigger]

  4. Joe Otten Says:

    Yawn. Conservative is the opposite of Liberal. Read Hayek.

    FWIW Social Democracy is just a variant of paternalistic Conservatism, that happens to represent a moderately different coalition of interests.

  5. Oranjepan Says:

    I for one think it is important that the LibDems contain a strong democratic element which includes members from all across the liberal spectrum who are prepared to stand up and defend their corners.

    Democracy is a fundamentally liberal concept and all democrats (social or otherwise) are welcome to join us to help us defend it.

    The commitment of other parties to democratic concerns is a secondary means to an end, so I’m sorry to read that Chamali and Chandila Fernando have betrayed their principles for expediency in this way. I hope for all our sakes that they don’t come to regret their decision.

  6. Gav Says:

    Someone already touched on this, but it seems to me like the problem is that there is no party in the UK that holds liberal free market views:

    Conservatives: (Relatively) Free market, Authoritarian
    Labour: Socialist, Authoritarian
    LibDem: Socialist, Liberal

    This causes a kind of vacuum and it’s inevitable that free market liberals will flick between LibDems and Conservatives. During a time of recession, where the markets are paralised and need freeing up to enable them to function properly again, people are going to lean towards the Conservatives. During a time of economic boom, people would probably do the opposite and swap to LibDems from the Conservatives to get away from the relatively authoritarian policies of the Tories.

    British politics is in serious need of a free market liberal party so that people can be free to live their lives without interference from the state.

    To say that “people should be free to go about their lives, but we want to decide what their money is spent on” is deeply illiberal and “Liberal” and “Social Democrat” just do not fit together in my opinion.

    I’m pretty sure that the Conservatives and LibDems have MPs with libertarian views – if they all broke away to form another party then I’m sure that it would be very successful.

  7. Anton Howes Says:

    Gav – that’s why I founded the SLP – I saw it as a gap in the market for a socially and economically liberal party, in exactly the same way as you have. I’ve put the link to it in my name.

    I’m no longer in the front seat, but we’ll see how it does. The problem is that building it from the ground up, whilst possible (we got 300 members in under a year, started by a 17-year-old!), is always going to be an uphill battle, and electoral conditions and expectations are incredibly hard to break through.

    If anything, I hope the growth of the SLP at least proves that there’s an appetite for such a party, particularly amongst younger people – with greater resources and more committed people, it could perhaps have grown even larger.

    Your suggestion that libertarian-leaning MPs break away and form their own party will probably end up being the only scenario where such a party would have a decent chance of success. However, this remote possibility is of course just that – remote.

  8. Tristan Says:

    The Tories aren’t pro free market, except occasionally in a bit of rhetoric. They have never been pro free market, except perhaps FCS until Tebbit disbanded them…

  9. James Graham Says:

    For clarification: Chandila Fernando resigned from the Liberal Democrats many months ago. In doing so he automatically gave up his ties with Liberal Vision and has not been involved in our work this year.

    Could we have some further clarification please? Because Liberal Vision as (to quote its website) “a wholly owned subsidiary” of Progressive Vision, freely works with Conservatives and non-aligned people. So why is Chandila being singled out in this case, unlike say, Shane Frith?

  10. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘The problem is that the LibDems still contain a strong social democratic contingent.’

    Yes & the Conservatives still contain a strong family values, homophobic, bible thumping section

  11. Gav Says:

    @Anton, is that the Social Liberalist Party? (assuming that it’s not the Socialist Labour Party!) I have been on the website before, and their views seem to be VERY similar to the Libertarian Party which also get a lot of young members.

    I do think that rather than having lots of small parties that promote these freedoms, they should all group together under one name else we will never get our liberty back. This would also create a more attractive alternative for libertarians in the Conservative and LibDem parties.

    It will take a long time to get our liberties back, no matter which route we take. I sometimes feel that the last few generations have seriously let us down, and we will probably pay for it for the rest of our lives – it’s up to us to make it better for future generations.

  12. Anton Says:


    That’s the one. Perhaps – the SLP was still supportive of free and universal healthcare and education though.

    They should only band together when they’ve got a consistent line of attack. I no longer lead the SLP, but I’m convinced we took a better approach than LPUK.

    LPUK almost immediately became the “swearblogger party” – a good way to get some devoted followers in the short-run, but in the log-run it’s likely to put everyone else off (not only uncaring, but actively disparaging and dismissive). It comes across as extremist, and does tons of negative campaigning.

    On the other hand, SLP tried to get itself a radical image in that it was new, young and enthusiastic, but was more moderate in its policies, and relentlessly doing positive campaigning. We even have an unofficial ban on negative campaigning. In the long-run, I think that approach is more effective and will gain greater support.

    …but what do I know?

  13. Mark Littlewood Says:

    @James…have you only bothered to read that one line of the FAQs? Try and read the WHOLE thing…I’m sure a man of your intelligence will not then require further clarification….

  14. James Graham Says:

    That doesn’t answer my question Mark, nor as it happens does the FAQ make much sense when one considers the pivotal role you play in both PV and LV.

  15. Julian H Says:

    The structure’s quite simple: the people shown on the About Us page do Liberal Vision’s work. No one outside this group has influenced this work (except for Chandila, who quit). Mark works for both LV and PV, being a Liberal Democrat and a Progressive Vision employee.

    Chandila used to work with Liberal Vision. Shane Frith never has.

    On the earlier comments, I find myself agreeing with Joe, Tristan et al., which perhaps indicates why I’m a LD with absolutely no bloody intention of joining the blues. I find the Tories, on the whole, are anything but free market. As we’ve been using football examples recently – in my experience most Tories instinctively support rules that favour domestic players and block the immigration of foreign talent.

  16. Joe Otten Says:

    The irredeemable thing about the Conservatives is that that is where you will find conservatives. It is the obvious party for conservatives to join.

    The time to think about joining another party, is when conservatives take over the Lib Dems.

  17. Gav Says:

    Anton: “the SLP was still supportive of free and universal healthcare and education though.”

    There’s no such thing as free healthcare and education. Doctors and teachers will always want paying, therefore the people receiving the services will always need to pay in one way or another. The real question is whether you want to pay the state through taxation or private businesses to run the services. Each way has its pro’s and con’s – and I probably agree with you that the state should provide some basic support as long as there is a choice between the two.

  18. Anton Says:

    Gav: Agreed.

    I’ve written much the same – Yes, I meant free to the patient or the pupil respectively. And yes, I agree about choice as well.
    Hec, you’ve probably read the policies…

  19. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘The time to think about joining another party, is when conservatives take over the Lib Dems.’

    Yes & I wonder who those conservatives will be 😉

  20. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    “Any 20 year-old who isn’t a liberal doesn’t have a heart, and any 40 year-old who isn’t a conservative doesn’t have a brain.” – Winston Churchill

  21. Gav Says:

    A nice quote is: “A liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet”. I couldn’t remember who it was but after a quick bit of googling, it seems to be Frank Rizzo.

    I wonder if the Fernandos have been mugged lately?

  22. Tom Says:

    Lets hope a few more from “Liberal” vision follow the example of Chandila.

  23. Jonathan Says:

    Anton, you mention the LPUK has done ‘tons of negative campaigning’. Could you let me have some examples as I’ve not come across any.