Following an article I wrote a few weeks ago about why I turned away from the Labour party, I received a few comments from people asking to explain why I joined the Liberal Democrats, so that’s what I’m going to address in this article.
First of all, Brexit. With the Conservative party negotiating a deal, which is likely to be harsh, and Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, flirting with the idea of leaving, there are only a few parties willing to do what they can to stop it, one of them being the Liberal Democrats. It’s not about ‘going against democracy’, it’s about letting the British people decide on the terms of the deal, rather than the tired, out of touch politicians in Westminster. When the result of a referendum is as close as the EU one was, who can possibly argue with the fact that we shouldn’t plunge head first into a ‘hard’ Brexit without first consulting the people who will be most effected by the outcome?
Second of all, the manifesto. The Liberal Democrats have, in my opinion, the best manifesto, in many respects. In terms of policies for young people, they have so much to offer, especially to children from less privileged backgrounds. Many people think that the best party to turn to as a young person would be the Labour party, but the Lib Dems are doing just as much, if not more than Labour for young people. For example, they want to triple the early years ‘Pupil Premium’ to £1000, meaning children from poorer and less advantaged backgrounds can have the best possible start in life. And unlike the Conservative party, who value children with a private education over those without, they want to invest £7 billion extra into education.
Students tend to hate the Liberal Democrats over the whole tuition fees incident during the coalition government, but to their defense, it was Labour who first introduced tuition fees, and they stopped so may other tory policies from passing. Also, they were a minority in a government filled with Conservatives, so they couldn’t have possibly carried out every single one of their election promises.
Finally, the leadership of the party. Vince Cable is a highly effective leader. As a former member of the Labour Party, he has left – wing roots and principles. Compared with the extremes of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, he is a calm, central figure, with the voice of reason. Rarely involved in the bitter arguments of the House of Commons, he truly is a model example of a modern political leader, and I have an enormous amount of respect for him.
The Lib Dems have made mistakes in the past, as we all have. But in the current political climate of extremes and negativity, why not stand behind a party that values freedom, toleration and liberalism?
Image: Neil Smith/Reuters