Originally published on LibDemVoice on 7/12/15
Many Labour members are thinking of resigning. I’m sure we would love them to join us. How can we encourage them without being too pushy?
If you are a social democrat outside the Liberal Democrats, whether in the Labour party or not, if there are ways the Liberal Democrats could make it easier for you to switch to us let us know in the comments below.
Here are a few of my thoughts.
Don’t forget we lost too. Moderate members of the Labour party may have lost the leadership battle for their party, but we’ve lost most of our MPs. Let’s acknowledge these twin disasters for the centre-left, and talk about how we can move forward.
Don’t call them authoritarians. The rule of law is central to Liberal Democracy, so a lot of anarchists call us authoritarians. If you don’t like that, don’t use the term on others. As a party we have a range of opinions on how to balance liberty and security. Social Democrats are the same.
Don’t call them Liberals. If they prefer to be called social democrats, respect that. If they join they’ll soon discover they are also Liberal Democrats.
Don’t tell them to resign. Many in the Labour party will have been members for years. Perhaps their friends and family have always supported Labour. This has happened incredibly fast, and it will take time to decide how to respond. We need to respect that and respect them. At this stage they need to know they’ll be welcome, but also that we understand if they feel they have to stay and fight.
Those are just my thoughts. I’ll be interested to read what others think.
George Kendall is convener of the Social Democrat Group, which is being formed to celebrate and develop our social democrat heritage, and to reach out to social democrats beyond the party.