This campaign is being funded with money left me when my father died in Feb 2004. I miss him and my mum and want to honour all they gave me in very many ways.
My father, Rev Colin Forrester-Paton, and my mother, Jean, were lifelong social Christians and Liberals who were active in many progressive causes such as Amnesty International, Christian Aid, World Development Movement, peace movement, etc. When Thatcher tried to foist the poll tax on Scotland they felt duty bound to resist because they felt the better off should pay more tax.
Living in Peebles they were active in the local LibDems. As a rule they believed people should vote for what we really believe in, but they recognised the case for tactical voting in some circumstances, at least while we still had such a backward voting system as First Past the Post.
In early 1997, at the age of 79, they spent many hours tramping the streets of largely Labour Penicuik delivering a leaflet I had written with the Scottish Tactical Voting Alliance. Their efforts bore fruit and are reflected in the text of a standard psephological work where the authors remark of Penicuik that “almost certainly there was considerable tactical support for the Liberal Democrats”.
“Sensible” people tell me that I should save the money, but when I think of the benefits which would result from achieving our objectives, I think this website and a few advertisements would be a good investment in my future well-being. Even if our campaign only has one chance in ten of succeeding, we owe it to others to at least have a go.
I claim no special virtue for this decision. As far as I am concerned most of us in the West are enormously privileged economically, if not in other ways, and the real question is why progressive people don’t put our money where are mouths are much much more.
That said, if anybody might want to portray this campaign as a rich man’s toy – an understandable suspicion, when we think of the way wealthy men have dominated movements for social change with their money – I should make it clear that I live in a one-bedroomed rented flat, work part-time as a jobbing gardener, and live fairly frugally (no car, don’t drink, don’t buy new clothes, foreign holidays, etc).
Beyond a few fixed costs of adverts and setting up this website, the campaign will depend on volunteer energy. Please play whatever part you can, but, for reasons of electoral law, remember not to support candidate X in any constituency in ways which involve spending money unless your leaflet or poster or local advert, etc occurs when the election is merely coming soon and not actually ‘imminent’ (from around 5 weeks prior to polling day).