I’m ashamed to say it and it’s difficult to admit, but I am going to vote Lib Dem in the general election. And there’s one simple reason – I want to get rid of the Tories by all and any means necessary. And in my constituency of St Ives, this is the best chance we have.
The Conservative candidate beat the Lib Dems by 2469 votes in 2015. And this was mostly because many loyal local supporters just couldn’t stomach voting for the party following the years of the coalition. This is clear from the massive swing from the Lib Dems. And in the fact that Derek Thomas MP won despite being down .07 on his previous vote share.
Like many others in the area, I grew to dislike the Lib Dems with quite a passion. I hated the coalition and the Tory cruelty the Lib Dems facilitated. And I have also been highly critical of the way they behaved here recently in the local elections, with allegations that they have parachuted candidates in and have produced leaflets that are disingenuous, to say the least.
But our candidate, Andrew George, also has a record of being the most rebellious MP of the coalition. He introduced a private member’s bill to get rid of the bedroom tax. But due to our ridiculous political system, the bill was sabotaged by filibustering. He is also a passionate defender of the NHS and has been leading local campaigns against the government’s controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans. And he’s given local people assurances that the only coalition he’d support is one against the Tories.
So, it makes it a much easier option than if, for example, Vince Cable was my choice. But I’d still much rather vote for a Jeremy Corbyn supporting candidate. Or the Greens.
Come on opposition parties, sort it out
Labour and the Lib Dems have both officially dismissed an earlier call from the Greens for an electoral pact to defeat the Tories. But local alliances are springing up. For example, Liberal Democrats are teaming up with the Greens to get rid of the Tories. The Lib Dems will not run in Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas’s seat of Brighton Pavilion. And the Greens will not stand in marginal constituencies Brighton Kemptown or Ealing Central and Acton.
Progressive Alliance for Cornwall points out all Cornwall’s MPs are Tory. But only 43% of the electorate voted for them. 30% when non-voters are included. And looking through the figures, it is very clear where alliances could be made.
For example, this chart shows the voting breakdown in 2015 for St Ives and neighbouring constituency, Camborne and Redruth. A progressive alliance, coupled with the fact that both MPs are either implicated or face allegations in the election fraud scandal, could see one Lib Dem and one Labour candidate returned to parliament:
Radical change does not come through voting in a flawed system. We all need to do far more than just vote. A healthy society needs a politically engaged population taking grassroots action.
But I believe that progressive change can come through voting in this election. And the bottom line is that Conservative policies are killing people. If that wasn’t enough, NHS workers are telling us we need to get rid of this government to save our health service. And teachers are telling us it is ruining our children’s schools.
I think there’s a need to look at the data. Because we can use it to decide which candidate is most likely to get rid of the Tories in our constituencies. In the case of the Lib Dems, I also think it’s important to ask whether they’d support another coalition with the Tories. Although there’s the caveat that you can’t always believe what politicians say.
I fear the alternative is another 5 years of Theresa May, a hard Brexit, and the sell-off of our NHS. Meanwhile, May is seemingly about to hit a whole new demographic with austerity measures – pensioners.
I believe in using all and any means necessary to achieve and create social change. And in this instance, I think it means biting the bullet. For myself that means voting, and voting Lib Dems even though politicians such as Tim Farron make this choice extremely difficult.
But it’s the only hope I can see of getting rid of May and her Tory government.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
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