We, as the Liberal Democrats, oppose any government that “fails to guarantee to all its people liberty of conscience, liberty of the press, liberty of association and of the free expression and publication of their beliefs and opinions” (Declaration of Brussels). A democratic government must protect the basic rights of “the human personality, personal freedom… and… is based on consent which must be conscious, free and enlightened” (Declaration of Brussels 1946). In keeping with a liberalist policy, we wish to promote equal rights for men and women, economic freedom, and respect for the faith, beliefs, and customs of minorities (Oxford Manifesto 1947).
The Liberal Democrats are opposed to any government which does not guarantee “its people liberty of conscience…liberty of association and of the free expression and publication of their beliefs and opinions” (Declaration of Brussels 1946). We believe in the “elimination of racial and all other forms of oppressive discrimination” (Liberal Declaration of Oxford). There should be “full respect for the responsibility and freedom of choice of individual couples” thus leading to our support for the civil union of homosexual couples (Liberal Declaration of Oxford).
Based on our belief that each individual should be granted equal rights and liberties, we support the belief that homosexual couples should be granted these same rights. Our tenet of freedom of choice encompasses religion, speech, association, and thus sexual orientation. Though the full rights of marriage are not to be granted to these couples in accordance with the constitution, there is a strong need for these relationships to be recognized by the government in order not to oppress. We feel that as a democratic government, we should support any legislation to ensure the equality of men and their right to free choice and its practice. As a liberal party, we must promote liberal ideas such as tolerance and cooperation (Liberal Declaration of Oxford).
In asserting our “faith in the liberty of Man”, we must support any groups that are currently discriminated against (Declaration of Brussels 1946). The views of this party are in accordance with those necessary to promote human rights and liberties regardless of race, religion, and sexual preference. If in power, our party would fully support the rights of all men and seek to promote a fair and equal society. The Liberal Democrats wish to ensure a democratic and liberal society based on the idea that “respect for the human person and for the family is the true bases of society” (Oxford Manifesto).
The European Union is an extremely important issue in United Kingdom politics and with the European Union comes the issue of whether or not the United Kingdom will eventually switch its currency to the euro. We as a party support the involvement of the United Kingdom in the European Union, and believe it in the best interest of the United Kingdom to be an active member of this institution. We advocate the adoption of the euro, and believe that the United Kingdom should work hard to meet the criteria that will enable us to adopt the euro. We believe that if we switch to the euro it will greatly help our economy. “The euro will: reduce uncertainty for importers and exporters thus increasing trade, promote competition in the economy, since trade increases choice for consumers, raise the rate of growth as innovative firms are able to expand more easily, and will give the United Kingdom more influence on single European market rules.” (Liberal Democrats) We then believe that once we have met the criteria imposed by the European Union that the decision should then be passed to the people of the United Kingdom through a referendum. We believe that it is time to let the people of the United Kingdom decide.
Trust appears to be a factor for all parties involved in the debate over whether or not Iran should be allowed to develop enrichment technology. “The same process which enriches uranium to the level needed for nuclear fuel can also be used to enrich to the higher level needed for a nuclear bomb” (BBC News). It is for this reason that the issue of uranium enrichment by Iran is so important. Enrichment technology in the hands of Iran is viewed by the West as a precarious situation because of Iran’s questionable intentions, “especially in view of its past violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” such as hiding “an enrichment program for 18 years” (BBC News).
Establishing trust between Iran and the international community is an important fist step to resolving this issue. We recognize that unilateral and pre-emptive military attacks are an ineffectual strategy to employ. We believe that an updated legal framework for the development and use of nuclear technology would “guarantee clarity, transparency, and minimized risks to global strategic stability” (Liberal Democrats). Such a framework would spell out the obligations and rights of participating nuclear weapons countries. This type of resolution can be achieved through continued multilateral diplomacy efforts, open dialogue, and avoidance of confrontation on all sides. “For maximum impact, Britain needs to work through the United Nations, and with Europe, as well as the United States. We will seek to reform the institutions and resources of the United Nations and the European Union to make them more immediately responsive to international crises” (Liberal Democrats).
Citizens of the United Kingdom are currently subject to fuel taxation in excess of three hundred percent. For every fifty pounds spent at the pump, only thirteen pounds pay for actual gasoline. The remaining thirty-seven pounds are all tax. This, coupled with thirty-six billion pounds in road taxation, poses as a major concern to citizens of the United Kingdom. Over the past twelve years, citizens of the United Kingdom have seen the amount they pay in fuel taxes move from the third lowest, to the highest in all Europe.
Since September of 2000, we the Liberal Democrats have supported a fair tax, not a fuel tax. We the Liberal Democrats believe in lower taxation of environmentally friendly fuels. Lowering taxes on alternative fuels benefits both the taxpayers and the planet. We will work to promote the health of our environment through targeted tax relief. We understand the universal need for petroleum across the socioeconomic spectrum. An individual who drives a fuel-efficient hybrid should enjoy certain tax relief when compared to the owner of a sport utility vehicle. We as Liberal Democrats knit our policies with a “green thread.” We want to see a society in which individuals and communities enjoy the freedom to run their own lives. A degraded natural environment is a constraint on freedom; it damages personal health and quality of life, it impoverishes economies, and it weakens or destroys local communities (Party Manifesto). To ensure a greener future while lowering taxes on fuel, we as Liberal Democrats believe in a marginal increase in taxation for those who make over 100,000 pounds annually. We ask those financially successful individuals to help us create a more fair, balanced, and green United Kingdom.
We live in an era when more and more people can expect to live far beyond the age at which they will retire from work. By 2040, the number of pensioners (based on current retirement ages) is expected to have risen by over 40%. Yet at the same time, the value of the state pension is falling, meaning that many are forced to manage on very low incomes in their latter years. One in five pensioners now lives in poverty and many older people struggle to cover daily living costs.
The Liberal Democrats feel that it is time for the government to take some type of action on the crisis now and it is time to stop talking. In an article printed on 07/09/2004, the Liberal Democrats launched a plan that they will try to implement. The single pensioners, as stated earlier, will have an extra L25 a week and couples over 75 will have an extra L33.70 a week. Their Citizens Pension will particularly benefit women, who will no longer be penalized for children at home or be reliant on their husband’s pension. In the first term of Liberal Democrat Government, the Citizen’s Pension will be targeted at people over 75 who tend to be the poorest, and the policy will later extend to all pensioners. The Citizen’s Pension will rise in line with average earnings so that all pensioners could share in the growing wealth of the nation. It would be set at L105 for single pensioners and L160.95 for couples. The cost of the policy will be met through the abolition of the DTI
The policy would take radical steps in the area of occupational and personal pensions by making occupational schemes “opt in” schemes rather than “opt out” schemes, making fairer pensions for women who stay at home and take care of their children, slashing means testing, and offering new, low cost pensions run by National Savings.
Throughout world history immigration has principally been how many nations have come to prominence, such as the United States and United Kingdom. In the process of this great phenomenon, the United Kingdom has led the way along with many other countries. Dating back to the third millennium BC, the Beaker people, and the waves of invasions by the Roman Empire, the Anglo-Saxons and Normans, the settlement of people arriving from the Colonies in the 19th and 20th centuries and finally to modern immigration reinforces the legitimacy of the practice. The history of immigration to the United Kingdom is, essentially, the history of the development of the United Kingdom itself. We believe that it is fair to say that the ancestors of most people living in the United Kingdom today were immigrants at one time or another throughout history (Wikipedia).
We, the liberal Democrats would make the positive case by commissioning an annual independent economic assessment of the level of need for migrant labour, with input from the CBI, trade unions and public and private sector bodies. The figure would be subject to an annual debate in Parliament to ensure full transparency. It is said that legal migrants make up only 8% of the UK's population, but generate 10% of our GDP. Immigrants provide skills that the UK simply cannot economically afford to do without. On the asylum system, the Home Office is not fit to have day-to-day responsibility for asylum. We purpose to implement a new system with better initial decision making to produce efficient and fair results desirable for each citizen.
We, the liberal democrats, have concluded immigration and asylum are both logical and rational. Our position is by far different from the Labour and Tory Parties. It is our understanding that the two other major parties wish to close the borders that would limit individuals who speak English and are highly skilled. Hence, asylum would be refused more often than granted which in turn hurts everyone.
Finally yet importantly, we, the Liberal Democrats believe our ideology lies with giving "power to the people". We are fundamentally against the undemocratic concentration of power in unaccountable bodies. We propose radical decentralization of power, out of Westminster and into the hands of the people. We would also create a system of tiered government structures to make decisions at what they see as the appropriate level, including regional assemblies, the European Union, and international organizations. In keeping with the principle of decentralization of power, we, the Liberal Democrats are keen protectors of civil liberties and oppose all intervention of the state in personal affairs. These values are worthy of a great nation. Moreover, they are the values worth fighting for. This is exactly what we are continuing to do. Vigilance is never easy. However, it is essential now more than ever. This is our pledge for you the great citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Wikipedia 2).
Declaration of Brussels 1946- http://www.liberal-international.org/editorial.asp?ia_id=916
Oxford Manifesto 1947- http://www.liberal-international.org/editorial.asp?ia_id=535
Liberal Declaration of Oxford 1967- http://www.liberal-international.org/editorial.asp?ia_id=917
Iranian Nuclear Proliferation-
Wikipedia 2- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Democrats_%28UK%29