I just joined the Liberal Democrats

Having lost all faith in both the Tory government and the Labour excuse for the opposition, I have officially joined the Liberal Democrats. Yes, they only have nine seats in Parliament. So be it. Whether they can turn that around or not, I would rather go down fighting on the side of the good guys than follow an opposition that has allowed its European policy to be dictated by UKIP.

Wish us luck.


(My thanks to Andrew Hickey and Richard Flowers, who have both helped me understand how Parliament works and what the Liberal Democrats are about. And who both, incidentally, write interesting things about Doctor Who.)

9 responses to “I just joined the Liberal Democrats

  1. Congratulations and good luck!

    Out of curiosity, how much does the fact that the Lib Dems were just in a coalition government with the Tories bother you?

  2. NickS,

    I am not at all bothered by the Lib Dems having been in coalition — it’s inevitable that the only way a minority party will ever exercise any governmental power is in coalition with one of the larger parties. Anyone who thought the Lib Dems had no effect on that coalition would, I think, have been disabused of that notion pretty quickly after seeing how the subsequent all-Conservative government behaved.

    I am of course bothered by some of the specifics of what that coalition did, and I would certainly hope that were the Lib Dems in a position to form another coalition after the next election, they would do things very differently. But that is a practical matter.

    On the rise in tuition fees: Andrew Hickey (I think) has argued that, judged purely in terms of its effects on people, the bill that introduced this rise was a good thing over all: that the LDs got clauses into it, related to how and when fees are paid back, that more than offset the bad consequences of the rise. Well, maybe. I have not looked into it enough to know whether that argument really hold water. But what I do know is that it was a colossal political mistake, and that the electorate saw it as a betrayal by the Lib Dems. I think most LD strategists would agree that it was the single biggest reason why the LDs were so comprehensiely wiped out in the next election. There is a lesson to be learned there, I think — but I am not sure what it is.

  3. Yes, the problem with the student fees debacle, just like too many other things, comes down to the ignorance of the electorate rather than anything else. No, I’m not calling voters stupid – very few people are actually stupid. It’s about the need for fundamental understanding of an issue, and we live in a world (well, we have for about six thousand years, anyway) in which it’s easier to take a soundbite over depth on something you aren’t really that interested in, even when that soundbite is wilfully misleading.
    So when the student fees was presented as a betrayal and nothing but a betrayal, with no attempt to examine the background or the implications, it’s hardly a surprise that most voters got the impression that it was just a betrayal.

  4. I’m not an especially political animal, just someone who as an onlooker is aware that the awful war on the disabled became what it is under the coalition government. Although the blame ultimately rests with the sadistic Porky Cameron, the Lib Dems are also guilty at least by association.

    I speak as someone who feels utterly alienated by all political people, though. They’re about as meaningful and relevant to my life as the feuding aristocracy was to the average mud-covered peasant in years gone by. I suppose I’m puzzled as to why anyone not of their ilk can have enthusiasm for any of them: they’re an entirely bad lot.

  5. Vometia:

    They’re about as meaningful and relevant to my life as the feuding aristocracy was to the average mud-covered peasant in years gone by.

    That is plainly not true. The decisions they make on your behalf have an enormous effect on your life and those of the people you care about. Why would you not want to influence those people?

  6. I didn’t say I didn’t want to. I feel powerless to do so. The decisions made by those people typically have an enormously detrimental effect on my life. I’m one person with severe depression: my vote makes no difference, I don’t have the energy and nobody gives a toss what I have to say anyway. If I do say something I’m just told I’m wrong or some variation on “scrounger”.

    I’m tempted to say that the political elite have a massive PR problem but it goes a lot deeper than that.

  7. I didn’t say I didn’t want to. I feel powerless to do so.

    Right, gotcha.

  8. Well I can offer a counter personal anecdote, which is that my MP made a material difference to my life after being asked to do something about a broken system.

    And yes, I can sympathise with the whole “feeling powerless” thing. That’s why I put my energies into voting reform (rather than joining a specific political party.) Because to me, that’s about the only way that people can feel involved again. And yes, I hope that it leads to e.g. more UKIP MPs, as well as more Green MPs etc.etc. One reason people did vote in the referendum was precisely because they felt it made a difference, unlike most elections which are wildly unrepresentative – the recent US one being a perfect case-in-point.

  9. I do agree: much as I dislike UKIP, it’s terrible that UKIP’s 12% of the vote got them only one seat. I don’t know how long you’ve been following this blog but our one chance at voting reform (rejected in a referendum, ironically) was the first political topic I ever wrote about here.

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