Hope for a brighter future

In this election there is everything to play for. Traditional voter loyalties have completely broken down, and nearly half the electorate are now regarded to be floating voters.

When talking to voters on the doorsteps and asking their thoughts on the current state of politics, the responses are dominated by the words “mess” and “shambles”.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are not popular, and are not seen as being good options to lead our country. If we get smart we can easily present ourselves as the Stop Brexit, Liberal Democrat and None of the Above party, and hoover up enormous amounts of those floating voters.

It is fear that will deter people from voting Liberal Democrat. Not fear of our policies or any character flaws in our leader, but fear that voting for us lets in the populist or the revolutionary socialist, or fear that we will prop up Corbyn or Johnson in exchange for some scraps of power.

Saying we will support neither is not enough. We have to have an offering that shows our supporters that we have a path to power, and we have to have an offering that shows the floating voters that we can stop the cartoon villains that they so fear.

That offering is a proportional electoral system.

We already have moderate, sensible MPs from the Conservatives and Labour parties joining our party and campaigning in our colours. If we end up after this election with a majority, or even with 100-200 MPs but the highest vote share, then we can offer PR (most likely STV) and say we will not work with Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson – as neither are fit to be Prime Minister – but we are prepared to work with moderate, thoughtful MPs from both main parties who wish to form new parties of the centre-left or centre-right.

Bringing in a proportional voting system will allow those who are frustrated and disenchanted with their current leaders to leave their parties and still have a political career.

The effect on the electorate will be incredible. Rather than expecting us to prop up the leaders they fear, we will be the party that destroys those stagnant, complacent, outdated parties forever. Britain will never again have to fear the Conservatives or Labour party governing alone.

In all future elections, people will be able to vote with their brain, heart and soul, rather than with their fearful amygdala for the lesser of two evils.

Imagine the party political broadcast where Tony Blair and John Major stand across the Thames from Westminster and both back us to fix our broken politics. The camera then pans out to reveal all the former Labour and Conservative politicians, celebrities and voters who entirely agree and see us as the only hope for a brighter future.

* Ewan Hoyle is a West Scotland list candidate for the Scottish Parliament election next May

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  • There is no revolutionary socialist party putting up candidates on a national scale.
    Since 1945 our country has become ever more right wing – at least in the sense of taking from the poor and giving to the rich.
    We have also seen a fight to remove the basis of capitalism – that is the rule of law and the regulation of monopolies and other such anti-capitalist practices.
    So here we are going back to feudalism. At the same time we are busy demolishing one of the few rays of hope – the building of a democratic international organisation in Europe.

  • Very well said, Ewan; and many thanks for it. This is exactly the right time to be reminding voters about PR. That will be all the more apparent to everyone, I believe, if the Conservatives triumphantly find themselves having to pretend to try to sort out the mess they are inflicting on us all,, well before the 2024 General Election.

    There are other radical policies afloat on the air which will be making themselves heard again, once the coming election has been won and lost , and it is vital that we start a.s.a.p. — NOW, that is — to revive our optimism and ( even more important) our Radicalism, which has been sadly inconspicuous for too long.

  • So, the game’s afoot! We can get fell in to await our footslogging orders, all doubts suspended for the brief duration.

    But we must not stop thinking . Polly Toynbee’s article in the Grauniad on Saturday urges as much in her concluding paragraph:

    ” . . . . . next five years of miserable consequences but for ever, with no one else to blame. Already demography is destiny and year by year the average age of Tory voters grows higher, with 30-year-olds twice as likely to vote Labour. Brexit and its aftermath might finish the Tories off, for their historic crime of leading the country astray with lies and false visions. In their victory may be their demise. ” [Ends]

    We Lib Dems must be thinking about our part in the 2024 completion of the demise of the Conservatives, and we must start that thinking now. What will be in our Manifesto in five years’ time ? Voting age of 16? Climate change? Environmental degradation? Re-Nationalisation? Regional autonomy? UBI? PR?

    All of them I trust. But I believe one of them is not yet evident to Lib Dems generally. That is UBI, the idea — already envisaged in some parties — to replace the current system of Taxes and Benefits with a ” Universal Basic Income” to be paid as a right to every adult residing in the UK.

    My own impression is that some have barely heard of it, and more misunderstand it — and perhaps even more, startled when they came or come upon it, are opposed.

    Therein lies the urgency. To most people, the idea sounds daft, and simply wrong. Such an idea is not worth putting in a manifesto if no-one in the electorate knows what it is. Those who favour it now are surely wasting time thinking about it unless they are already considering how to get it widely and properly understood — and then appraised. UBI is not simply a matter of Economics or Finance, but of radically realigning how we in our four nations and counties and streets and homes live together as individuals and people and communities.

    Labour and the Greens are already far ahead of us in this, I believe. It is time we gave the idea more consideration, if we are not to be left limping behind. The name needs changing, for a start.

  • David Evans 2nd Nov '19 - 4:46pm

    The problem with this is that I have heard it all so many times before. Most people are totally uninterested in PR. We had our one chance nine years ago and Nick blew it. It won’t win us any votes in an election but so many of us love imagining it.

    Putting it simply, we need to win seats now. Playing Hope for a brighter future won’t do it. Get out there and work like mad and hope our leadership can win the national campaign. If we don’t win twenty more seats this time, Boris will be in power and our chance to stop Brexit will be gone. “Imagine the party political broadcast where Tony Blair and John Major stand across the Thames from Westminster and both back us” is a game for losers.

  • Richard Underhill. 2nd Nov '19 - 5:11pm

    STV is not strictly proportionate. It does allow voters to express their preferences. We may need to be firm about that. Did you notice it is used for the election of deputy speakers?
    PR tends to mean party list, which only allows a voter to choose the top of the list.
    The others are chosen by the party members, or in the Brexit Party the party leader.
    OK if your party leader is Nelson Mandela and there is no register.

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