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?