Liberal Democrat Voice’s annual poll to find the Liberal Voice of the Year is a strange beast.
Ostensibly it is a search:
“to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months…looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s *not* a member of our party.”
In reality it is a very odd beauty contest between a disparate range of contestants most of whom aren’t liberals in any sensible use of that term. Voting in it becomes more a reflection of what issues the voter sees as most important rather than a true choice between the merits of the candidates.
Last year it became a rather odd venue for an ideological battle as some libertarians made a successful attempt to get Mark Littlewood chosen as the winner. It seems there will be another attempt at this this year with the inclusion of the policy director of the thatcherite Adam Smith Institute on the short-list.
I was one of those to nominate Lord Justice Leveson this year. If at the heart of our liberalism is the imperative to oppose the concentration of power in unaccountable bodies — then the political battle to get the recommendations of the Leveson Report implemented and so bring some accountability to the distorting and destructive power of elements of the British press is a struggle for liberty. I have found the attempt to paint Leveson’s modest proposal for a degree of statutory underpinning for a new regulator as some kind of move towards authoritarian state censorship as ridiculous. It is also very disappointing when this has been argued by liberals who should really know better. So I thought it was important that Leveson was on the short-list. In fact he has also been joined by the Hacked Off campaign, which is pleasing.
However, when it actually came to vote I decided that those who have continued to fight for human rights and democracy in the face of violence and intimidation where more deserving of my support. So this is how I voted: