Today I attended the national event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. On the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz the gathering at Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre heard readings and testimonies from survivors of the holocaust in Nazi occupied Europe. I met Mrs Aaronson, who survived the evacuation of the Lodz ghetto by being forced to clear up the area by the SS. She was sixteen and had lived in the ghetto for four years. Now she visits schools for the Holocaust Education Trust, telling her story to today’s teenagers.
We also heard from survivors of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. Among the other speakers was Ed Miliband, who spoke movingly of the local people who saved his father’s family in Belgium and his mother in Poland. The theme of the 2014 commemoration is “journeys” and each contribution was followed by someone carrying a traditional leather suitcase onto the stage. I was reminded of the pile of discarded suitcases I saw on my visit to Auschwitz 21 years ago.
I walked over to the conference centre with Dr Azmi, the Chairman of the Remembering Srebrenica project. The Department of Communities and Local Government has funded the project to enable visits to Bosnia, the scene of the most atrocious massacres in Europe since 1945. We also fund the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and I sit on its advisory board. Parliament also marks Holocaust Memorial Day each year and I gave the speech on behalf of the government. Here is what I said:
“I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) for leading us in this debate. Many of his remarks had a profound effect on me. To summarise, he said that although the holocaust is in many ways a story of hopelessness and humiliation, it also provides many examples of courage, stoicism and, ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit.
I echo my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown)—she is my hon. Friend—in saying that it has been a privilege to listen to all the speeches that have been made in this debate. That is not always our experience in this Chamber, but everyone has listened intently to every word that has been said today. I have been moved by many of the remarks that colleagues have made. We have shared our different experiences, the ways in which we have encountered the holocaust and how we have responded individually. Perhaps more importantly, we have resolved to act together.
The British mainland escaped the horrors of Nazi occupation. Although some European Jews were able to flee here, most notably through the Kindertransport, for most of us the holocaust is not a family experience. I note that it is for some Members who have spoken. For most of us, our witness and understanding has come through history, literature and perhaps film.
My first knowledge of the holocaust was as a 13-year-old watching the TV series “Holocaust” in the late 1970s. That spurred me to read the only book about the holocaust that I could find at the time, which was “Scourge of the Swastika” by Lord Russell of Liverpool, who was involved in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. I have never forgotten the table of categorisation in that book for the Nazis’ targets for imprisonment and murder. We are all familiar with the yellow star and the armband, but less often mentioned are the colours and symbols that were used for Gypsies, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the disabled. I was most alarmed by the pink triangle for homosexuals, because at that age I was just coming to terms with what I was.
The first reason to remember the holocaust is to understand that minorities are our friends, our neighbours and our work colleagues. In the twisted minds of those who hold a prejudice, the minority could be ourselves. That is why we should be thankful that we live in a society in which human rights are upheld and in which minorities are our fellow citizens, not outsiders who are confined to legal or physical ghettos.
In recent years, mass knowledge of the holocaust has come through the films with which we are all familiar, but literature and celluloid are no substitutes for real-life experience and testimony. We have all mentioned speeches and visits to museums and monuments. I first went to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1992, when frankly it was not usual to do so, during a visit to Poland while inter-railing. I will never forget it. There were very few visitors at that time, and when we followed the line to Birkenau, I climbed the gatehouse tower and looked at the scale of the camp. To those who have not yet been there I say that that is the memory that will live with them; the scale and the industrialisation of mass murder. I was there entirely on my own—no one else—visiting on a hot summer’s day in 1992, and it gave me my own time of quiet contemplation. It is not a visit I have ever wanted to repeat, but like the shadow Minister, I think it is perhaps something I should now do.
I have since been to Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House, and I have also seen the pink triangle memorial in that city—the only known monument to gay people who were murdered by the Nazis. In 2012, I went to Yad Vashem with the Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, and I was familiar with many of the historical displays there. My right hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire said that he was profoundly affected by the children’s memorial, and no one could not be. What most affected me was the hall of names, where one looks up at a cone of photographs—hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photographs of people who were wiped out by the Nazis, reflected in a dark pit below. I really could not hold it together on that occasion.
The holocaust is a unique event and must be remembered and understood, particularly by young people for whom it is an historical event that took place long before they were born. It is right for the Government to support that, and many hon. Members have mentioned that they work with the Holocaust Education Trust, led by Karen Pollock. It facilitates school visits to Auschwitz, as well as talks in schools, such as those that took place in my constituency, to give young people a vivid account and an unforgettable memory. Of course the most powerful testimony comes from holocaust survivors, such as Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller, who is still speaking in schools at the age of 92.
Last Monday I joined several other people now in the Chamber—the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman) mentioned this—at the Holocaust Educational Trust annual Merlyn Rees memorial lecture, to listen to Thomas Harding tell the fascinating story of his Uncle Hanns and the arrest of the Auschwitz commandant, Rudolf Höss. Thomas Harding discussed how people can turn from being loving fathers to murderous monsters. We are all familiar with the phrase from that time and the excuse that was often used about following orders, but he said that that was perhaps better described as people surrendering their capacity to think to others.
In more recent massacres and genocides we have seen how easy it can still be for people in advanced societies to slip from civilised values into thoughtless barbarity, whether in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, or the current horrific scenes in Syria, where reporters are using the holocaust as a context in which to explain a tragedy unfolding before our eyes. People can still all too easily be led into acts of cruelty and murder.
That is why it is right that this Government—as did the previous Government—support the work of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, led by Olivia Marks-Woldman. Its annual act of remembrance on 27 January, the date of the liberation of Auschwitz, will be marked around the country on Monday. This year’s theme is journeys, and those of us who have seen at Auschwitz the pile of leather suitcases will certainly appreciate the resonance. Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Prime Minister has set up the Holocaust Commission, chaired by Mick Davis, president of the Jewish Leadership Council. That is because real-life memories are fading as people who remember the holocaust or who were told stories by their parents die. The work of the commission will be to consider how we can keep that testimony live and real, and ensure that those of the next generation comprehend the history, and also learn how to shape their future.
Next year will also be the 20th anniversary of another horrific episode in the history of Europe: the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. I was particularly struck by the two interventions from my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart), who served with NATO in Bosnia. Last year, my Department supported Ummah Help’s Remembering Srebrenica project. We will continue that support in the next year.
History is not just a moment in time studied for curiosity or even for leisure; it also gives us lessons we should learn. Not learning those lessons is a warning about the future. I will end my remarks by quoting a survivor of Buchenwald and Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel, who went on to win the Nobel peace prize:
If you want to read all twelve speeches (and they were all excellent) you can do so here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140123/debtext/140123-0003.htm#14012382000002
When the result of the division on the Government motion was announced I was stood at the back of MPs crowded at the entrance to the Commons. So I didn’t see the Labour whips move to the position where the winners of the vote get to shout out the result. The stunned silence quickly gave way to tasteless Labour cheers. Low politics had collided with complex diplomacy.
The Prime Minister and the Deputy PM had recalled Parliament to stage the first defeat of the Coalition. And I was on the losing side with them. Everyone seemed pretty stunned by the result. It may have been avoidable if Ministers had been able to invest more time in winning over sceptical colleagues, like the Obama Administration is doing with Congress. But that would have depended either on Labour shrugging off the shadow of Iraq or some Tories embracing internationalism over isolation.
So where does this leave Britain’s place in the world? In the short term, just a bit muddled. But pretty quickly we have to decide whether our future foreign policy is predicated on Britain being an outward looking international player or a shrunken hulk of isolationism. There are those on the right of the Tory party, haunted by UKIP, who want Britain to withdraw from the European Union and don’t seem to place much value on the US “special relationship” either. Bizarrely, some of the same people want to increase defence spending and renew Trident.
Labour are desperate to put the spectre of Iraq behind them. But Syria is not Iraq. Assad has weapons of mass destruction and is prepared to use them. When we voted on Thursday it was not at the last moment with hundreds of thousands of UK and US troops poised at the border, as in March 2003. There had been no “dodgy dossier” or partial advice from the Attorney General. The Coalition Government cooperated with the Opposition on the motion and promised a second vote ahead of any military strike against Assad’s capability to use chemical weapons again. Unlike 2003, the government was proposing joint action with a Democrat US President, with a Socialist French President on board too. Labour MPs might think that the defeat of the Coalition’s motion was smart domestic politics, covering up Miliband’s lacklustre summer and putting distance between them and the Blair legacy. But I think they will soon regret ignoring the case for humanitarian intervention. It’s a long way from the spirit of the socialist international brigades and Spanish civil war posters saying “if you tolerate this, then your children will be next.”
I voted with the government because I am a liberal internationalist. I want Britain to play a full role in an enlarged European Union. The EU’s newest member is Croatia. Macedonia is next in the queue. In the mid 1990s I was ashamed that the Major government did not do more to restrain Milosevic’s ethnic clensing in Bosnia. I applauded Blair for acting swiftly when people were burned out of their villages in Kosovo.
I believe it is the duty of advanced democracies to use their resources to advance and protect human rights around the world. In the main, that should be through peaceful means. Trade agreements, cultural exchanges and a generous aid programme are all part of the mix. I am proud of the fact that the Coalition government will this year hit the forty year old target of 0.7% of our national income being allocated to international aid. We will have almost doubled the budget of the International Development Department in a time of fiscal austerity elsewhere in government.
But sometimes we have to wave a big stick against regimes that are not interested in diplomacy and human rights. That’s why I voted to intervene in Libya two years ago, to avert a massacre by Gadaffi. That’s why I would still vote to support British participation in a surgical strike against Assad’s ability to mass murder Syrian civilians. It would not be about regime change or taking sides in a civil war. It would certainly not be an Iraq style invasion. But it would be about doing what we can to protect the lives of innocent people from the barbarous actions of a brutal dictator.
My conscience is clear after Thursday’s vote. But I am worried about Britain’s place in the world and whether people fearing oppression and destruction will in future look to us for hope and salvation.
Imagine the scene in four years time. You’ve been on the train from London for the last one hour and twenty five minutes. The journey has been smooth and quiet, on one of the new inter-city trains, powered by electric. As the train approaches Bristol Temple Meads you see to your left a boat docking by the wharf next to the hotch potch of different building designs that make up Bristol Media Village. Beyond looms the roofline of the recently opened arena.
The train pulls into the grand Passenger Shed, the original terminus of Brunel’s trains in 1841. Your fellow passengers have been chatting about their options for reaching their final destination. A lawyer will walk to her office in Queen Square. A tourist is intending to pick up a Brompton and cycle to the SS Great Britain. A group of students will get the bus to the Triangle. One of them prefers to get a taxi from the new rank on Isambard Walk, next to the new terminus. A family plan to catch the harbour ferry in order to visit M Shed.
And you? You now have a choice of how to get home to St Andrews on the North Bristol Circle Line. Your nearest station is Ashley Down. The train via Horfield leaves in ten minutes. The one via Clifton leaves 5 minutes sooner and you could catch that…but it means walking up the hill from Montpelier. Besides, a wait gives you more time to visit the station shops. You then join the rowdy crowd on the anti-clockwise train who are off to watch some Twenty Twenty cricket at the revamped County Ground.
Tomorrow you will choose to trundle your suitcase down to Montpelier in order to catch the Portishead train. You’ll be getting off at Portbury to be met by the luxury coach that will take you to the quayside where the Queen Mary is waiting to take you and hundreds of other Bristolians on the maiden voyage to New York.
Fanciful stuff? Not really. There’s a consensus, at least among Bristol’s MPs, Mayor and councillors, that rail has a great future. The electrification of the main line was agreed by the Coalition in 2011. The first gantries are already going up around Reading. Track capacity between Temple Meads and Parkway is to be increased, enabling the re-opening of stations at Ashley Hill (or Ashley Down as it should really be called) and Horfield. Network Rail is planning to take over the operation of Temple Meads and has ambitious plans for a complete revamp of the station experience.
Last Saturday I joined Charlotte Leslie MP, First Great Western managers and a great crowd of Bristol transport campaigners for a trip up Filton Bank, around the “Henbury Loop”, up to Severn Beach and back down the existing branch line via Clifton to Temple Meads. Much of the track infrastructure for new passenger services is already in place. The Lib Dem administration of Bristol City Council successfully launched the concept of a Bristol Metro last year, endorsed by neighbouring authorities and transport campaigners. Investment will be needed in signalling and new stations. But above all we need all the stakeholders to get their ducks in a row and agree a rapid timetable for bringing this vision into reality.
And a liner to New York? Why not? Brunel would approve.
To add your voice to my campaign to get a new station at Ashley Down, go here http://www.ashleydownstation.com/
To support Charlotte Leslie’s campaign for the line through Henbury, go here http://www.henburyloop.bristolpetitions.com/
Added 13 Sept 2013 – Cllr Sean Emmett has a petition to support the reopening of a station for Lockleaze and Horfield
Bill Clinton had a slogan in his Presidential campaign headquarters – “It’s the economy, stupid!” What was true 21 years ago in the US has even more validity in Britain today. I never miss an opportunity to talk up Bristol as England’s most prosperous city region, a powerhouse of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
Prosperity means jobs. Across the country over 1 million new jobs have been created since 2010. Unemployment has been falling steadily in Bristol for the last year and the number of people in work is at an all time high. Our city is a centre of excellence for aerospace, digital media and professional services. Those sectors are complemented by two universities that excel in research and technical training. A great example would be the Robotics Centre, run jointly by Bristol University and UWE.
Government is contributing to the growing Bristol economy by some targeted investment in the region. Vince Cable often mentions the National Composites Centre, which he opened in 2011, where there is the combination of research and innovation necessary to keep Britain a world leader in aerospace. The centre is modelled on the German “catapults” that have kept Germany ahead of the rest of Europe in manufacturing. As Secretary of State for Business, Vince is reviewing each sector of the economy and making sure government is a facilitator not an obstruction to growth.
The German lead in manufacturing is not just down to their technical innovation. They also have a highly skilled workforce. Britain is now catching up, with a massive expansion in the number of apprentices. Over the last year I have been visiting a variety of Bristol businesses in order to meet their apprentices. These have included world leading large companies such as Rolls Royce as well as smaller businesses in the aerospace supply chain.
An apprenticeship is a great way to acquire a well regarded qualification. Not every young person has achieved the good grounding at school or college to start an apprenticeship. Charities such as the Prince’s Trust can get people on to the right path. The government is going to help soon as Vince wants to push “traineeships” as a bridge to an apprentice place. Youth unemployment is much lower in Britain than most European countries but I want Bristol to be a city where no young person who can work is left languishing on welfare payments.
So the focus of Liberal Democrats in government is on growing a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone can get on in life. I wish our coalition partners would realise that banging on about whether Britain should stay in the EU puts at risk our future prosperity. Bristol and Britain will prosper only if we remain a strong participant in the world’s largest single market.
Note – this article was written for the Bristol Post and published on 12th July 2013.
Everyone is familiar with the Clock Tower of Parliament, housing what must be the most famous clock in the world. Tours up the tower to see the clock mechanism and the Big Ben bell itself are very popular with Bristol West constituents. The Clock Tower is now officially named the Elizabeth Tower, in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. But the taller and larger tower at the other end of the Palace of Westminster, named after the Queen’s great great grandmother, is far less well known.
But the Victoria Tower houses a treasure trove of artefacts much more significant than a clock. Here we are concerned with chronology rather than horology. The tower is home to the Parliamentary Archives. I’ve just had a fascinating visit to see a selection of the Parliamentary records and political collections held in the archive. The primary collection is the original copy of every Act of Parliament. I asked the chief archivist when was the first Act? It’s not easy to identify the precise moment when Parliament became a legislature, initiating measures by itself rather than endorsing the wishes of the King. But the first Act held in the Victoria Tower dates from 1497 and was for the regulation of apprentices working in the Norfolk wool worsteds trade. Since then there have been over 64,000 Acts of Parliament!
The original Bills are written on sheep or goat skin vellum. They are rolled up and stacked upon row after row of shelves, arranged by reign. The fattest rolls are finance bills….and having just sat through several weeks of the Finance Bill 2013 (a mere 230 clauses and 49 Schedules) I can say nothing has changed! The thinnest rolls are private family Bills, dating to the times when Parliament had to grant divorces.
Medieval Bills, like modern ones, were subject to amendment. These days amendments are printed and if passed the Bill is reprinted for its later stages. But to avoid the laborious process of rewriting rolls of vellum the medieval Parliamentary clerks devised a simple solution. They wrote out the amendment and then sewed it onto the side of the Bill roll. Sounds much simpler than dealing with “tracked changes” in a Word document!
The archives also hold some of the records of politicians. The most famous is that of my hero, Lloyd George. This was the actual reason for my visit, as a follow up to the recent exhibition in Parliament marking the 150th anniversary of his birth. I was shown some notes passed across the cabinet table between Lloyd George and Churchill at the outset of the first world war. The Lloyd George Archive is the most popular source consulted by visiting historians.
For more about the Parliamentary Archives see here http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/parliamentary-archives/
For my motion on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lloyd George see here http://www.parliament.uk/2012-2013/931
My regular slot on Radio Four’s Westminster Hour MP panel tonight had a sting in the tail…a discussion about whether MPs should accept a pay rise! There’s probably never been a time when the press and the public think that MPs deserve a pay rise. But at the moment I would agree that the time is not right. My salary has been frozen for three years since May 2010, in line with other public sector employees earning more than £21,000 a year. Public sector pay goes up by 1% in the next two years and we should expect to get no more.
The trouble is that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority are rumoured to be on the brink of announcing a substantial pay award for MPs. IPSA was created in the aftermath of the furore over MPs’ expenses four years ago. It sets the terms of Parliamentary pay, pensions, budgets for staff and office costs and MPs’ personal employment expenses such as travel and accommodation. We MPs have absolutely no say in any aspect of the regime, including our salary. So MPs (nor meddling party leaders) cannot instruct IPSA to set MP pay at any particular level.
What are the facts? MPs salaries have been frozen at £65,738 since April 2010. They were increased by 1% on 1st April this year and the same is currently planned by IPSA for April 2014. MP salaries have barely changed over the last ten years. A decade ago the salary was £56,358 so the rise since then has been an average of just 1.66%, meaning a substantial real terms pay cut in gross salary. Pension contributions have also increased several times and are the highest in the public sector. The new IPSA expense scheme rules mean many MPs are subsidising their normal employment costs (eg overnight accommodation and subsistence in London) out of their salaries. I put these points as facts, readers can draw their own conclusions whether MPs are treated generously.
What’s to be done? If IPSA award say a 10% pay rise, MPs will be in a very awkward spot. No doubt the three party leaders will demand that that IPSA is ignored. But that would destroy the case for an independent body. Personally, if my pay rises by more than the rest of the public sector, I will donate the difference to charities.
But if I could make a suggestion to my IPSA paymasters it would be this – don’t make any substantial changes until the day after the next general election. There’s never a good time to change MPs’s pay but immediately after an election removes any hint of vested interest. Pay could be set for the entire 2015 – 2020 Parliament and not changed again for 5 years.
At the same time I would ban all MPs from receiving any salaries or emoluments from parallel careers. Being an MP (at least for me) is a full time job. In fact it is more often than not a seven day a week long hours job. There should be no outside earnings from the legal profession or company directorships. I’ve noticed in past debates over MP salaries that it is the rich MPs who call for restraint by their poorer colleagues. If Parliament is to be a place where everyone can serve without feeling either financial embarrassment or expecting a lucrative career, then MPs must be adequately paid and they must all be paid the same base salary.
While Britain seems set for a long period of debate about our continued membership of the European Union, other countries are strengthening their position in the European family of nations. Last year I went on a double MP delegation to help Macedonia in its preparatory stages for EU membership. Last week I returned from a visit to another small state that has made a huge success since joining, Estonia.
The delegation was entirely Lib Dem, led by Malcolm Bruce, also including Simon Hughes, Andrew Stunell and Robin Teverson, a former MEP now in the Lords. For Malcolm and myself it was a follow up to our visit in 2007. Estonia also has a centre-right coalition, but this one is Liberal led by the Reform Party and we met with several of our fellow liberals on the visit.
Estonia is one of the smallest EU states, with a population of 1.3 million. The majority of its inhabitants are Estonian speaking but there is a significant Russian speaking minority of about 23%, a legacy of the long period of rule by imperial Russia and then occupation by the Soviet Union until 1991. Estonian is a unique language, of little use outside Estonia, a miracle of survival next to the dominant Russian bear. As a Welshman, I can empathise! But while Wales is mountainous, Estonia is flat and 70% trees and bog. Our road journey from the capital Tallin, to Kuresssare on the island of Saaremaa was one of the most monotonous of my life as the bus swept through endless forest.
In its second period of independence (the first being between the deposition of Czar Nicholas II and the invasion by Stalin in 1940) since 1991 Estonia has established itself as a liberal, high tech, fiscally sound country. It has achieved the greatest prosperity of the three ex Soviet Baltic states, in particular since joining the EU in 2004. The Reform Party led coalition has persued a policy of free market economics. It has the lowest proportion of government debt to the economy of any EU state, at about 10%, an eighth of our rate. When we met Prime Minister Andrus Ansip he bluntly told us that governments should not borrow off the next generation. Summit meetings with Gordon Brown must have been lively.
Estonia’s finances were so sound that they were able to join the € in 2011. Its southern neighbour Latvia will join next year so any right wing Tory hopes for a collapse of the single currency are wide of reality. Estonia is unique in Europe for its flat rate of taxes. Income and company taxes are both 21%. Individuals have a tiny personal allowance of €144 a month so the flat rate is quite regressive. All is not what it seems on the corporate side either with a swingeing 30% payroll tax, an equivalent of our NIC but used to fund all health and welfare spending. A dedicated tax for the NHS is something the Liberal Democrats have considered and this may be the way to separate out political wrangling on NHS spending and bureaucracy from actual health care policies.
While Estonia practices free market economics I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s also socially liberal. But this may be due to a more relaxed attitude to social norms from elsewhere in Europe. The country has the lowest rate of religious adherence and marriage rates are low. I hope they will soon allow same sex marriage and it will probably happen with less fuss than in the UK. The country is run by a relatively young group of people. I had a great discussion with the 32 year old Taavi Roivas, the minister for social affairs…which covers the equivalent of our health department and DWP, like the old UK DHSS of the 1970s and 80s.
But the most radical, though unsurprising, innovation by this young country is its embrace of new technology. One of the highlights of the week was the visit to the ICT Demo Centre http://e-estonia.com/ict-demo-center The country won’t be chopping down any of its millions of trees to make paper as it moves steadily towards an e-enabled society. All government services can be accessed or implemented on line. Internet access was described as a “social right” with fast broadband available everywhere and also free wi-fi access in most public and commercial buildings. More than 90% of tax returns are filed on line. In the 2011 general election a quarter of people voted via the Internet. Once the election campaign is underway voting can begin and the system even allows for people to change their vote up to 7 days before the election! It may make our campaigning sound antiquated though I’m a long way from being converted to e-voting.
Finally, a little note on Estonia’s painful history. They are well disposed towards the British as the Royal Navy saw off the Soviet ships in 1918, enabling Estonian independence. Freedom was short lived as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact handed the country back to Soviet occupation. Prime Minister Ansip showed us the portraits of his predecessors from 1918-1940, all murdered by Stalin.
On my last visit in 2007 there was a visit to Narva, on the border with Russia. Two medieval castles, one Swedish and one Russian, face each other across the river. The town is literally at the edge of the European Union. The two castles act as a metaphor for two visions of Europe. One is a bastion of freedom of expression, of trade and innovation and international cooperation. The other expresses a quite different fortress mentality, with limited personal freedom. Estonia may be at the fringes of Europe but in its mind it is at the centre of the modern Europe that all liberals want to see.