I almost don’t need to say this, but the Liberal Democrats and betrayal sit very comfortably with each other in a single sentence. History is a testament to that.
Their current strategy, though, is the most cynical of all.
Firstly, a little history. For as long as I can remember, the Liberals, then the Liberal Democrats, have adopted a strategy of fence sitting, having no real opinions on anything, or any policies of any note (other than spending more of everyone else’s money) and presenting themselves as an alternative for people who want to feel good about themselves by not voting for the Labour or Conservative parties, and in the certain knowledge (the voters) that they (the Lib Dems) will never get anywhere near the corridors of power.
Then something odd happened. This strategy was so successful, and the two main parties so disliked, that the Lib Dems snuck up to 62 seats in the 2005 General Election, which dropped to 57 in the 2010 General Election, when a hung parliament resulted. This created an opportunity which they were keen to exploit, as any smaller party might.
The problem was, though, that they had campaigned heavily in university towns for the student vote with a cast iron commitment to oppose tuition fees. However, this conflicted with the Conservative manifesto of a student loan mechanism.
Contrary to popular belief, they did not need to enter a coalition with the Conservatives and, had they not done that, their integrity may have remained intact, but they did. In return for important jobs and high-sounding titles, they decided to ditch their tuition fees commitment completely. That did not go unnoticed and the 2015 General Election saw them lose 49 seats, an 87% reduction of MPs in one hit. In 2017 they recovered a little to 12 seats, but most people still haven’t forgotten. Their former leader, Sir Nick Clegg, is now busy selling out to one of the world’s most predatory and unprincipled companies – Facebook. No change there then.
In an attempt to redress that tag of treachery, the Liberal Democrats have latched on to a variation of their former strategy and concluded that, as there are still a lot of people who want to remain in the EU, their fortunes might pick up were they to pander entirely to that demographic. There’s no hint, though, that this is happening, and that’s probably because they’ve simply ditched one form of treachery for another. It is so transparent that people are turning away from them again. Rightly so.
The problem is that now they are betraying democracy. For a party that purports to be democratic and in favour of proportional and representative voting, it is incongruous that they should seek to improve their party’s fortunes by opposing the largest and wholly proportional single vote in our history. There’s nothing democratic about opposing a democratic vote, and nothing liberal about attempting to undermine democracy.
I understand that people feel very let down by the Conservative and Labour parties, and that they desperately want to cast their vote effectively; some even being tempted to vote for the Liberal Democrats, simply because they aren’t the other two (former strategy) or from a misplaced desire to remain in the EU when the country has decided to leave.
You now have a real choice. Rather than fighting against the biggest vote in our history, our efforts should be to make this march to freedom a huge success. Rather than continually talking the country down, let’s pull together. As your independent candidate I am not controlled by party loyalty, but country and constituency loyalty. Independents do not, unlike the other parties, put their own interests first, they put their country and constituents first.
The SNP are nationalistic only and care about nothing else. They hold an entirely contradictory position of wanting to be independent from the UK yet ruled by Brussels instead. Plaid Cymru are also nationalistic and irrelevant.
Honesty and integrity have lost much of their importance in our current political establishment, but now, in this election, you have a golden opportunity to put it back by voting Independent.