SIR,—May I be permitted, as an officer of the separate,
but 'sister,' Scottish Liberal Party, to try to answer • your editorial attack on the Liberals (Spectator, December 20).
From the point of view of style, the article was well-written and witty (I particularly enjoyed the Balaclava metaphor in the final paragraph), but in content it was a series of mis-statements and mis- representations. The gist of the argument seemed to be the hackneyed tale that the Liberal Party exists only for the rootless and the temporarily dissatisfied. Yet, in Scotland, as in England and Wales, a Liberal Party would have had to be created or re-created, on the grounds of policy alone, had the present Liberal Parties ceased to exist.
The vast majority of our members are Liberals not merely because they are dissatisfied with the Tory Party or the Socialist Party, but because they believe passionately in policies which they can find nowhere but in the Liberal Parties.
We believe in the concept of Co-Ownership in Industry, which is deliberately ignored by the other main parties. (And let no one try to say that this policy is impracticable. There are companies with from thirty employees to 16,000 employees imple- menting it most successfully.) We believe in a Scottish Parliament for all Scottish Affairs—and perhaps your clever editorial writer can tell us when Scotland will receive this 'from the Tories or the Socialists!
We believed in entry into the European Economic Community years before the extraordinary over- night conversion of the Tory Party to a policy which they had long been attacking.
We believe in retaining NATO bases and a NATO nuclear deterrent (until multi-lateral disarmament), but not in retaining a separate British nuclear deter- rent. And we believed this long before the more en- lightened half of the Socialist Party decided to (half) adopt our defence policy I We believe in a policy for education which differs considerably from those of the Tory and Socialist Parties.
We believe that private 'wealth,' whether industrial or educational or even territorial, should continue to exist, but only if it is spread as widely as possible throughout the community.
As a regular reader of the Spectator for the last fifteen years, I was not surprised to see such a violent attack on the Liberals, but I was surprised to find it in semi-editorial form.
Your contributor is fully entitled to hate both our existence and our policies, but he is not entitled to imply that there is no connection between the former and the latter. At the general election this year, millions of voters will throw the lie back in his teeth !
Joint Honorary Treasurer Scottish Liberal Party 2 Atholl Place, Edinburgh 3