Friday, January 27, 2006

Simon Hughes Launches Leadership Campaign

This afternoon the City of Manchester Stadium Simon Hughes officially launched his bid for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats. In the home venue of the highly sucessful 2002 Commonwealth Games Simon alluded to the comparison between athletics and politics. He said:

It is the Commonwealth Games stadium where I, with tens of thousands of others, saw dreams become reality – but only after years of preparation and effort.

Just as in the world of athletics, so in the world of politics, you get nowhere without commitment and ambition. Over the last twenty five years I have shown by example my commitment by campaigning the length and breadth of Britain, alongside fellow Liberals and Liberal Democrats.

As leader, I aim for nothing less than to inspire our party members and the wider public with a new vision of what a liberal Britain would be like.

No-one ever won a gold medal by standing still.

As a former athlete, yes Ming isn't the only former athlete in the Scottish party, I can vouch that this comparision is very real. As an athlete I was a long distance specialist and, unlike Ming's speciality in the sprints and relay, we have as Liberal Democrats to work the long hours to acheive our goal in the long haul.

However, the line is getting closer and can be acheived if we are disciplined. Simon referred to our difference from the other partys as being a party of principle:

The other parties may change their values every time they change their leader.

We must remain true to ours.

The liberty of our people is what drives us on. As a human rights lawyer, I have led campaigning for thirty years against authoritarian governments, whether romoting ID cards at home or the oppression of apartheid abroad. I have always been proud to stand up for the rights of minorities and minority groups. As leader I will ensure that we NEVER sell out our principles for a cheap headline.

Simon outlined his aims for the party to bring freedom, fairness and sustainability to our nation, and calls for the party to be ambitious for the nation. If we are ambitious for our country the people will vote for us, as a vote for us will be seen as a vote for each of them.

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