Saturday, 20 August 2016

Why the Liberal Democrats are not irrelevant


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It's coming up to the Lib Dem conference and it's time to take stock of what the party is saying and their progress. Ever since the 2015 election every time I mention that I am a Lib Dem to somebody I am met with a joke about how irrelevant we are and how nobody knows or cares about what we are doing. We may not have been at the forefront of the political world last year after losing 49 MPs but in 2016 we are slowly gaining relevance and could be the only viable option for many people.

This has translated into thousands of people joining the party. This is not only because of sudden changes within the Labour party and the conservative party that make them unstable but also because of what the party is now offering under Tim Farron.

The Lib Dems seem most relevant in providing 'remain' supporters with hope after a devastating result in the referendum. The EU referendum result came as such an awful shock to many young people. I witnessed this first hand when I went to school the next day. I spoke to as many students as possible and found only one girl who was pleased with the result. The rest were either enraged or visibly upset about Brexit.

I noticed the same pattern on social media where many young people quoted the statistic that 75% of 18-25 year olds voted to remain and that the majority of people who voted to leave were the older generation who would not reap the dis-benefits as much as young people. I also believe that the Brexit vote was not understood fully by the British people who would have voted to remain if they had fully understood the issues - the very next day the most Googled term was, 'What does a Brexit vote mean?'.  People were alarmed at what they had voted for when the pound started dropping the day after.

The Lib Dems are the most relevant party in offering 'remain' voters, particularly young people, hope for a stable and connected UK within the EU. We are the only party to have said that it will take Britain back into Europe. Whilst I can see that the democratic nature of this claim is questionable I have also seen how many British voters were wrongfully swayed into voting 'no' against their best interests and have now changed their mind. The Lib Dems are the only party to offer these people options.

Tim Farron has provided a new start for the Lib Dems. Nick Clegg was, sometimes unfairly, too attached to the stigma of tuition fees and by the majority of young people. I say 'unfairly' because it was Labour who brought in tuition fees and broke the 'free education' concept. University fees are now rising under the Tory government. In fact, the Tories have done far worse through their cuts. People have a short memory when it comes to politics yet the Lib Dems are consistently punished by young people for tuition fees.

It's time to take note of the party and look at our brilliant progress regarding women's rights, asylum seekers, young people and disabled people.

Please contact me if you would like any more information regarding these policies!

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