Liz Jarvis explains why she joined Lib Dems from Labour

I’ve been talking to Liz Jarvis, who joined the Lib Dems from Labour in the Summer a bit on Twitter. Remarkably, out of 700,000 people, we found each other to have a brief conversation at the People’s Vote march in October. She’s written for the Independent Voices website about why she joined us.

She was pretty involved in the Labour Party as a student and voted Labour throughout her adult life. When the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories, any positive feelings she had towards our party evaporated and she continued to vote Labour. But along came Jeremy Corbyn:

I might have remained “soft” Labour but for the perfect storm of Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit. The latter is quite simply anathema to me, not just because I’m the granddaughter of immigrants, but because I believe so strongly in freedom of movement, and that the evidence backs up the overwhelming truth that we are better off in the EU than we can possibly be out of it.

The Momentum-propelled adulation of Jeremy Corbyn left me cold. I was also increasingly uneasy about the accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and for the first time in my voting life I started to feel politically homeless.

Last summer I explained how I was feeling to a friend who had joined the Lib Dems, and he asked me why I was still supporting Labour. After a heated debate, the conclusion was tribalism. I had been clinging on to my political heritage and the promise of what might have been, had Blair not led Britain to war in Iraq, had Corbyn not become leader, had David Miliband stuck around or Ed not eaten that bacon sandwich.

The more I delved into Lib Dem policies, particularly on education, the NHS and crime, the more I realised that this was the party for me. I have always believed passionately in equality and internationalism, and politically, I am home.

Like any relationship it takes work. I was welcomed with open arms into my local party, which has a small but dedicated group of activists, and plunged headfirst into campaigning. Since joining I’ve canvassed, attended meetings and hustings, placed coloured stickers on a Brexometer (it’s really a giant whiteboard, but useful for gauging opinion) and been selected as spokesperson for my local ward.

She’s going to be coming to Conference in York in the Spring.

Liz is not alone. During the Christmas holidays, there has been a steady flow of people joining us from Labour, especially when Jeremy Corbyn cosies up further to the Tories on Brexit  at a time when almost three quarters of his members want a People’s Vote. Corbyn seems more interested in finding a way to deliver Brexit than giving the people of this country the chance to mark the Government’s homework. Unless he changes his mind, the flow from Labour to Lib Dems will only intensify.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • jayne Mansfield 3rd Jan '19 - 8:14pm

    There are some that cannot get over the fact that David Miliband did not win the Labour leadership. Why would one want David Miliband to stick around if one was so opposed to the Iraq War?

    I thought that the photograph of Ed Miliband struggling with a bacon sandwich and the commentary engendered in some sections of the press disgraceful. In my opinion it was a dog whistle and shaming.

  • To me the question for the party is whether we are really in a position to integrate new people into the party.
    As far as Labour is concerned it is easy to trace the path of the party from Tony Blair’s campaign to increase donations from business, to get support from the right wing press to the right wing government he presided over. However we have to balance the many good things his government did against the most probable other possibility that he would never have won in the first place.

  • Joseph Bourke 3rd Jan ’19 – 4:58pm…………… I reserve it for those responsible for crimes against humanity, such as the invasion of Iraq, an illegal war with mass casualties – Labour’s war, that the Lib Dems opposed…………..

    Hardly Labour’s war as far more Labour MPs opposed it than Tory/LibDem combined; it was Tony Blair’s war.

    You are rather selective in picking your wars. I seem to remember that we, as party, supported both the Libyan conflict (I suppose being in government changes one’s perspective) and the two votes on bombing Syria…

    BTW If it’s ‘consistency you are after then it’s worth remembering that the current Labour leader voted against all those conflicts.

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