Tomorrow is polling day in the UK. Setting aside all my usual bile and ranting, here are a few reasons why you should vote Liberal Democrat.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a sensible tax system. With an economy failing and too many unemployed, it makes sense to reduce the amount of tax low-income earners have to pay. This encourages people to seek employment instead of claiming benefits. With the extra money in their pockets they can stimulate the economy by increasing spending on the high street. It also puts them in a better position to handle the higher energy bills that are inevitable as we try to shift to greener energy sources.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a rational foreign policy. The Liberal Democrats were the only major party to oppose the Iraq War. With that conflict becoming so unpopular later, it is easy to forget just how brave this was at the time. Many saw this as an act that would destroy the Liberal Democrats, making them appear weak and gutless. Quite the opposite. Against mainstream fleet-street and political opinion, the Liberal Democrats made the right call and proved that they think rationally about issues, despite what might appear politically convenient at the time.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a stronger Britain. We do not need Trident, the idea that we should spend a hundred billion pounds on a weapon we will never use is ridiculous. Some claim that without a nuclear deterrent we will be under threat, but in the modern globalised world, with so many close allies with nuclear weapons, the idea that we would be invaded is preposterous. America will not allow another nation to attack a close ally. We should lead the way in disarmament, using it as an example for Iran, and syphon the money into better equipment for our troops or into cutting the deficit.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for reducing our debt. Above all other parties the Liberal Democrats, under the stewardship of Vince Cable, have managed to set out the most cuts and savings. It is widely accepted that Cable is the politician most qualified to lead us out of this mess. Lets make him the Chancellor.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for cleaning up politics. Every party had politicians who claimed something silly in the expenses scandal. But only the Lib Dems didn’t have politicians who “flipped” their houses to get us to pay their mortgages, an act widely accepted as the most outrageous. The liberal democrats have consistently campaigned to make politics more transparent and accountable.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for voting. Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to reform our electoral system, as the other parties benefit from the ridiculous FPTP. If you support the Green Party, you should vote Lib Dem. If you support the Scottish National Party, you should vote Lib Dem. Even if you support UKIP, you should vote for the Liberal Democrats, because once we have proportional representation, your votes will finally count. If you live in a safe seat, vote Lib Dem to register your distaste at having your vote wasted every election.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for honest campaigning. Only one party didn’t resort to scare tactics and instead stuck to a positive message. Both Labour and the Conservatives regularly resort to fear to sure up support, and unfortunately it usually works. A victory for the Lib Dems would tell these cynical opportunists that we’re better than that, and we can see through their lies about hung parliaments and runs on the pound.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for free politicians. Both the Labour party and the Conservatives rely on huge donations from single persons or organisations (The Unions for Labour and Ashcroft for Conservatives). The Lib Dems actually have the largest number of people donating, but a tiny fraction of the money the other parties have. That’s why you’ve seen so many adverts and broadcasts by the Conservatives and so few by the Lib Dems. We cannot allow an election to be won by one party outspending another. We cannot allow Ashcroft to buy Britain.
A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for freedom from the press. We live in a country were every newspaper is partisan in some way. Most notably is the Murdoch press who take pride in their ability to dictate who our next government will be. A long time ago they decided that Cameron would be the next Prime-Minister and have smeared the Lib Dems at every opportunity to sway the vote their way. This year, with the power of the internet, we have the ability to finally throw off the shackles put around us by Fleet Street and reject their partisan ways.
And finally a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for hope. There is only one result that will heal this country, and that is Nick Clegg walking into Number 10 on Friday. Any other result will feel like more of the same; we’ll continue resenting politicians, distrusting every word they say and bitterly regarding the whole process as corrupt. David Cameron and Gordon Brown are divisive figures. Nick Clegg, for all his strengths and weaknesses, is not. David Cameron might “look more Prime Ministerial” according to polls, but those same polls show barely anyone trusts him. On the issue of trust Nick Clegg’s approve rating is through the roof. Perhaps it is a sad sign of how low British Politics has become, that honesty is a quality we don’t associate with the post of Prime Minister.
In America, the people recognised a chance for a new beginning in Obama. Sometimes you need more than a promise of a tax-break here or cutting waste there. Sometimes you need a line under the past and a breathe of fresh air. Sometimes you need to believe in a world that can be made better, and that change can happen against all the odds. Too long we’ve allowed hate, big money and biased press dictate our future. It’s time we took it for ourselves.
Good luck tomorrow, I’ll keep believing.