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Aspiration for All

October 11, 2011

‘Nobody from whatever school they come from, whatever background they come from, should be discouraged from trying to do good things with their lives. Aspiration, ambition, hope, optimism is always important, but it’s especially important in the teenage years.’ Nick Clegg, at Charles Edward Brooke School for Girls in Camberwell, as part of the Speakers for Schools initiative by the BBC’s Robert Peston.

Nick Clegg, speaking to girls at a comprehensive school inLondon sets out in a compelling way not only the aspiration for young people, but also the distinctive political philosophy of the Liberal Democrats.

Many non-Liberal Democrats will share these aspirations for all. But it is important to set out how the political philosophy of the Labour and Conservative parties narrow and marginalise these aspirations compared to other priorities.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are parties representing interests. For Labour it is the Unions, who fund them and who play an often decisive role in choosing their leader. For the Conservatives, it is the interests of money and the protection of power and influence of those who already have it. In both cases, it is possible to be a member of these parties and believe in aspiration for all. However, this idealism masks the true motives of each party, which is to fit aspiration for all within the context of how it affects their core supporters and backers.

It is not possible to represent interests at the same time as truly representing everyone.

Liberal Democrats do not represent vested interests. The party’s core beliefs include:

‘We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.’

This true liberty of aspiration based on equal chances to develop skills and character irrespective of background or schooling, can only be found politically within the Liberal Democrats.

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