Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Why I didn't join the Lib Dems (and why I did)

Time to cut straight to the chase. I've just joined the Liberal Democrats (at least I think I have, the confirmatory email has not arrived yet). First thing to note is that was cheaper than I thought - only 10 quid - bargain (although I could have spent up to 250 - we'll see if they are worth it first). Who would have thought you could be a fully fledged political animal for only a tenner?

So "Why the Lib Dems?" you may ask. Good question. In the light of recent events I should say first what the reasons are not.

1) Vince Cable. Hailed as the man who predicted the credit crisis and helped to fix Northern Rock, I certainly have a lot of time for Vince, and he could be a good reason to vote Lib Dem, but not to join them, not on his own.

2) Nick Clegg. He seems like a good chap, if he wasn't I might have been put off. But I've been eyeing up the Lib Dems since long before he came on the scene. So I haven't just been converted by his recent gains in the Prime Ministerial Debates, although I'm looking forward to more of them.

3) A love of orange. You can't miss it, but I prefer green, as a colour.

4) Dislike of a two party system / the need for change. Again I think this is a strong reason to vote for a strong third party, but not necessarily to join it.

So here are the reasons:

1) Freedom / Privacy. I value freedom, I value privacy. I'm fed up of people wanting to track me. It's bad enough when it's supermarkets but when governments do it then I really objects. It being election time it's hard to get past the fluff, but the Lib Dems aren't afraid to tell you on their web site that they are generally in favour of people having as much personal space to what they want as possible. I feel quite strongly that this should be the main idea in many aspects of society, including education, parents and local and national government. Laws should exist to stop people hurting each other and to make society work better, not to impose unnecessary restrictions on people. Have a read of The Freedom Bill and you'll see what I mean. Most of what this Bill does is repeal laws. We have too many laws, let's get rid of a few!

2) Greenness. I may write about the Green Party later, and I have a lot of time for them, but of the 3 main parties the Lib Dems have taken green issues on board a lot more than the others. Global warming isn't the only issue, by green I'm thinking really of being frugal with our limited resources - I want some oil left for my kids to use.

3) Ability to debate rationally. I'm generally impressed with the way the Lib Dems conduct themselves. They aren't actually afraid to agree with people from other parties. I think this is a good basis for political debate in the future.

4) Electoral reform. They seem to be the only party that is prepared to grasp the issue of our stupid voting system. Of courses this coincides with them being a smaller party and currently disadvantaged by that system, but it's also a fundamental view of mine, that everyone's vote should count the same, not just the ones belonging to people in marginal constituencies.

So there we are, that's what I did and that's why I did it. Anyone think I made a big mistake?


  1. No mistake in the slightest if you ask me.

    When I first voted, mostly in ignorance but maybe with a latent liberal[0[] outlook, it was on the grounds that yellow was a nice colour. Shortly afterwards, the then-leader, Charles Kennedy, made some statement about not rushing to knee-jerk reactions about 11/9 or Iraq or something. Whatever it was, I was impressed at the wisdom of saying something with foresight.

    I'll vote for freedom, liberalism, transparency, green-ness if applied thoughtfully, fair taxes, and probably for a change in the political system; the choice seems to be the UK-wide (albeit slightly English) LibDems with their stance on proportional representation, versus the Scottish National Party with their stance on devolution/Independence for Scotland.

    [0] In some ways it's a shame that a sensible permissive perspective on life has become tarnished through being named.

  2. Yes, why does "liberalism" seem to get bad rep? In other situations we might call it "live and let live".

    Maybe it's because some people often seem to be very keen to shout about their own rights, rather than face up to their responsibilities and the rest of us get tired of hearing it.