I intend as part of my Electionwatch series, to shine a spotlight on the main political parties that are contending the 12/12/19 election in England. Already they have all been busily campaigning with all but the Tories having produced their manifestos. I kick off with the LibDems under their leader, Jo Swinson.
While realistically their chances of winning the election is remote, they hope with arguably good reason to do well because of main party dissatisfaction, despite being disadvantaged by the “first past the post” election system that is operating, and have gone about their campaign with a laudable in it to win it attitude, but with at least a realistic hope to hold the balance of power when all votes have been cast. After managing to do well in 2010 and becoming part of a coalition government with the Tories, their fortunes after slumped but with recent widespread dissatisfaction with both Tories and Labour they have seen their fortunes restored, as evidenced by their showing in the Local and European elections earlier this year.
I have to confess I have never been keen on the LibDems and, as I recall, in my 50 years of voting in elections, I have voted for them only once (as a protest). Mind you, when the gang of four defected from Labour, who were closer to my Labour ideals, to form the SDP in 1981, I was tempted to vote for them as the voice of moderation and articulating some of my middle of the road sentiments. But pragmatism ruled and in 1988 they merged with the Liberal Party to become LibDems, and the rest is history. While I had long hoped for a party in the centre that took the best from Tories and Labour, I came to regard LibDems as a neither here nor there party, although I know several who shared those hopes have disagreed, seeing the LibDems as the best prospect of breaking the two party hegemony.
While LibDems won’t get my vote because of there Remain stance, having watched recent developments I am even more convinced in my distain for them. I did admire their leader, Tim Farron, who typified what was decent in Libdemism, but who stood down in 2017, partly because he saw a conflict with his strong Christian beliefs and being leader. More recently they removed one of their candidates, Rob Flello (ex Labour MP), also with strong Christian views, because of his views on abortion and same sex marriage because “His values differ greatly from ours”. While the meme is skewed against the LibDems, it is essentially true. Regarding transgenderism their manifesto states: “Complete reform of the Gender Recognition Act to remove the requirement for medical reports, scrap the fee and recognise non-binary gender identities. Introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports and extend equality law to cover gender identity and expression… Require schools to introduce gender-neutral uniform policies and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of certain subjects”. And a further example of their progressive (imho) regression is their obsession with the supposed climate emergency. All the above have turned me even further away from the LibDems.
But what can’t be ignored is the possibility that the LibDems could play an important part in the balance of power that results from the General Election. I hope not, but we will soon see. One thing I am convinced on is they cannot be relied on to champion the cause of the middle ground given their Brexit stance and their “progressive” values do not represent those of many Middle Englanders. As I see it that void remains and one wonders how that can be filled.