I first voted in 1997. I voted LibDem. I wasn’t very politically aware at 18, just anti-authority. (My catchphrase was “don’t tell me what to do!”) The LibDem policy of increasing income tax by 1p and increasing education funding made sense to me. I didn’t really know any other policies! By 2001, however, I had been outraged by Labours RIP Act 2000 and the issue of personal freedom had become the focus of my politics. Added in to this was my thoughts on making sure that society looked after everyone fairly and equally, with all shouldering their fair share. I soon realised that Labour would continue to destroy civil liberties, and that the Conservatives would not look after everyone equally, and so I continued to support the LibDems. I joined the Liberal Democrat party in 2005 and got involved in campaigning locally. By 2008 I was disillusioned with the party as I had come to realise that although I agreed with a lot of their policies I definitely disagreed with quite a few as well. I am not sure why I didn’t join the Green party at this point. Probably through a perception that they could not succeed. I was convinced to rejoin the LibDems at the start of 2010 and the only reason I did not help campaign for our local LibDem candidate for the general election is that I was too ill and all my energy was going towards starting an IT business.
We all know what happened next. Complete betrayal by the LibDems as they joined a coalition with the Conservatives. Make no mistake here; the LibDems put the Conservatives in power. If it were not for them, we would not have a Tory government now. In fact I should not have been surprised that they could choose a coalition with the Tories. It took until 2010 for me to find out about Orange Book LibDems, who I should have known about a lot earlier. It turns out that the Orange Book tells us of many policies that we are seeing happen now, including the destruction of the NHS in favour of private providers, and other policies such as implementing environment polices through the free market, and stepping back from Europe. If I had known of the Orange Book, I would never have voted LibDem.
We can see this economic alignement through a test called the Political Compass which presents party policy in a different way, by splitting out a party’s social scale from the traditional Left-Right economic scale.
Viewed on this test, you can see that the LibDems are actually quite similar to Labour and the Conservatives in being right-of-centre, differing mainly in being less authoritarian than those two. My own test results, however, put me in the bottom left quadrant, making the Green party the nearest one to me on both economic policies and in personal freedom. Also interesting is the three main parties position over time. I could have supported the Labour party in 1972 if I had been around then.
This video illustrates just how similar the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are.
So what do I want in a political party?
- Respect for personal freedom and civil liberties – no using terrorism as an excuse!
- Clamping down on abuses of people and society by private business
- Nationalised rather than privatised services
- Everyone looked after (Health, Education) out of general taxation
- Everyone paying their fare share
- Respect for the environment, before we all drown or starve
What don’t I like about the others?
- Believe in privatising everything – NHs, local services
- Ruthlessly cutting public services
- Targetting disabled and sick people by scrapping mobility, time-limiting ESA and scrapping DLA for PIP
- Introducing the Welfare Reform Bill before the DLA consultation even finished
- Lying about the deficit and the debt
- Endlessly blaming everything on Labour – “The mess we inherited from Labour”
- Cutting taxes for big business and creating a tax haven
- Scrapping legislation
- ID cards, and worse, the ID database
- Brought in ESA to replace Incapacity Benefit and gave the contract to ATOS
- Destroyed civil liberties – control orders, RIPA, 30 days detention without trial
- War in Iraq and Afghanistan
- Censorship of internet connections with the Internet Watch Foundation
- PFI – paying for decades, paying much more, paying £300 to change a plug
- Chose to put the Conservatives in power
- Orange Book LibDems are economically aligned with Conservatives anyway
- Destroying public services
- Many broken election promises
- Anti nuclear
- Fascists and racists. Need I say anything else?
- Anti EU
- Anti Immigration
I have arrived at a conclusion that I should have accepted years ago, that the Green party are the only party that I can vote for. The only thing I disagree with them on is their opposition to nuclear power, and I’m coming to the conclusion that no business can be trusted with this even if we do need it.