Exploiting The Gap?

The Liberal Democrat party has seen a surge in new members and I am one of them. Will it stick or is it a blip? I joined the party – my first ever – when May called the snap election last year. My first experience of the party was watching the internal amount of squabbles and disorganisation. When challenged there is always an excuse for everything.

The Conservatives seem to be intent on destroying themselves as a ruling party, along with the entire country, by their incredibly vain, naive and arrogant handling of the Brexit process. This means that there is a fair chance that Corbyn, his Marxist chums, with the heavies in the slavishly sycophantic Momentum crew, to ensure compliance (Animal Farm anyone?), could well take power in the foreseeable future.

Some believe that as a population we need to suffer the financial recklessness of the Marxist’s money-tree to jolt us back into common sense. Those with no real life commercial experience, nor memory of the Corbynomics approach to government cannot understand why so many of us are terrified at the thought.

This doesn’t mean I want the Tories. I want a proper Liberal Democrat government. Although, I am a realist, because at this stage in the life of the party, when it ought to be poised to exploit the gap that is opening it is still irrevocably divided.

The impression I have as a politically engaged individual is that the party contains two distinct, any many iterations thereof, ideological groupings of either economically driven so called orange Bookers or the socialist style Lib Dems s who don’t agree with Labour but strike me that they’d be much happier in that type of ideological environment. The party is riven by differing ideologies. We share common views regarding the outcome of many things but it all falls apart when we discuss how to achieve them.

It is an admirable intellectual concept that we can and should all co-exist in this big group that is neither one thing nor the other. For the party is the place for thinkers: those that ask why, are comfortable with a greater degree of cognitive dissonance than many. However, it is more like a political social club where the main topic is debating, much satisfaction is derived from differences and occasionally fiddling with the levers of power.

This is the rub. There is a difference between this approach – many iterations over many years but all ultimately seeing Liberalism consigned to the side-lines in Westminster – and building a party with The aim of being elected into national government and being able to make a meaningful contribution ought to be the over-riding obsession. I still believe that some people are incapable of making the compromises that getting into power entails. It is all well and good to stick rigidly to finely honed, incredibly well developed, after much democratic debate, etc.  ideas but they absolutely ensure a side-line position. Politics is the art of the compromise.

The party made it into a coalition recently and instead of uniting behind this and using the presence of Clegg and co. as the thin end of the wedge ,the party decided to turn in on itself and bemoan the compromises made and then vilify the then leaders. In many quarters of the party you’ll still go a long way tutting about the coalition.

Whether it is the faction driven by a more hard-nosed economic approach or the socialists in the party, someone (both) need to go their own way. If the socialists split away I’d wish them luck and if the ‘Orange Bookers’ did so then that would be a good thing too.

Nonetheless, until the party can face outwards and focus on winning elections  – something that is impossible in the current state – I see no point in being part of it when renewal rolls around. The party today simply doesn’t do simplicity.

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Rarely has the political choice been so clear cut

Politics is ordinarily a highly nuanced topic and choosing can be difficult. However, the snap general election in the UK, coming so soon after the vote to leave the European Union has suddenly thrown the voting options into two very stark choices.

Choice one is either of the two largest parties in the UK. Presently: the Conservative party seems hell-bent on driving the UK into either a hard-Brexit or a no-deal scenario. Alternatively, you can could choose the Labour party which also has a pro-Brexit stance. Furthermore, the Labour party is in an organisational shambles. It is poorly led, riven with infighting and is in no shape to lead the country.

The arguments about the rights and wrongs of the decision to leave are behind us. The only thing left to exert any degree of control over is the way the leaving process is managed. As the Brexit vote is a reflection of a very narrow section of the United Kingdom electorate that got out to vote (note to the reader: this is what happens when you vote. Change. Not always for the good)  it signifies huge upset for this country long into the future, both economic and social.  This general election is all about installing a party that can help control the manner of our exit. Damage limitation.

For those of use that thought the UK should remain in the EU then either of the scenarios where the Tories win a huge majority or the Labour party gains power are unacceptable.

The only major party that has been consistently pro-EU has been the Liberal Democrats.

This election is all about Brexit, even the Tory Prime Minister said so. The only way to exert any control over the manner of our departure and our longer term relationship with the EU is to vote for the Liberal Democrats. It is that clear and simple.

I am aware that this is simplistic. Ordinarily you might not vote LibDem. This is about how you feel about our self-inflicted and messy break with the EU. For once it is a simple choice. Once the handbrake is on then we can attend to the regularity of day-to-day politics. If you are indeed a Remainer then the decision is a simple one.

(conflict of interest disclaimer – I joined the LibDems a few days ago for the simple reason outlined above)