Opinion: On joining the Liberal Democrats and being a Normtrooper

I’ve always had an interest in politics. I’ve never obsessed about it, like I’ve obsessed about football, but I’ve always read and followed political stories and I’ve certainly always voted. My vote hasn’t always been heard, but that’s another issue.

I feel strongly about environmental issues. We must take more action, and soon, to tackle climate change. We, as a family of four, only fill our black landfill bin to less than a quarter full once a fortnight, but our blue recycling bin is always full to overflowing. More can be done by our district council though. A friend of ours can put all the recyclables that we can into their bin(s), plus their recycling bins can take glass and food waste. I also believe in clean energy so choose my energy supplier accordingly, and I’m paper free wherever I can be.

About that other issue I mentioned earlier, I’m also in favour of electoral reform. I live in a safe seat that’s been Tory since it was created in 1983. As I said above, I’ve always voted, but I’ve never voted for either my current MP, or his predecessor. You might wonder what the point is in voting How can it be right that a party who only got 36.9% of the vote got 50.9% of the seats, but another party got 12.6% of the vote, and only 0.2% of the seats. In Scotland, around 50% of the electorate are represented by 56 MPs, but the other 50% are represented by just 3 MPs.Β The ‘First Past The Post’ system worked fine when more than 90% of people voted for only 2 of the parties, but that has changed, and so must the way we vote, to engage the electorate, and let everyone feel they have a voice.

So why the Liberal Democrats? I’d always considered myself to be a floating voter. But surely a floating voter doesn’t always vote for the same party? At general elections, I’ve only once voted for anyone other than the Liberal Democrats, and that was for Labour in 2005, when arguably, the Liberal Democrats were left of Labour. By 2010, with Nick Clegg as leader, I was back as a Liberal Democrat voter, and I’m totally convinced that Nick did the right thing in taking the party into the coalition government. In the run up to the 2015 election, I also felt, like Nick Clegg, that the result wasn’t going to be as bad as predicted for the Lib Dems. How wrong I was!

I was working nights on election night, and the coverage was being shown on the TV during my breaks. I felt strangely numb and disappointed as the results came in, and it became apparent that the party was going to be reduced to a handful of MPs. It was around this time that I watched an interview with Paddy Ashdown, during which he likened being a member of the party to an overcoat, and that it just felt right and comfortable. That’s how I felt. I also felt I needed to do something to help the party recover from such a disastrous night. So I decided to join a political party for the first time in my life.

We now have a leadership election in full swing, and I feel we have 2 very strong candidates, and I won’t be disappointed in whoever wins, but I’m a Normtrooper. Despite the fact that he’s a budgie supporting season ticket holder at Rarrot road, the bitter local rivals to my beloved Ipswich Town. See, I can still obsess about football!

* Richie Edwards is a new member of the Liberal Democrats from Sudbury

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '15 - 6:12pm

    Please bear in mind that the Tories have lost about half of their members over the last five years and are heavily dependent on their ability to raise money.
    In Ribble Valley I met a guy who said he was 77. He had lived in the same area all his life and had never been able to vote for a candidate who could win. He was in tears because he knew we were going to win, which we did with a majority and the Tories abolished the Poll Tax.
    Safe seats are there to be won, partially because other parties think they are not worth contesting.
    We had previously won Eastbourne and went on to win Bath, Harrogate, … etc.
    Plaid Cymru won in the Rhonda Valley. from Labour.
    Our friends in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland won East Belfat in 2010 with the largest swing in the UK.

  • Normtrooper? Sorry but this I s a serious leadership election not a computer war game.

  • @norman Rimmer
    Richie is an enthusiastic new member who doesn’t need superior put-downs. What welcome!!!!!

  • Jonathan Brown 21st Jun '15 - 3:17pm

    Welcome to the party Richie! It’s great to have you with us!

    The surge of support we’ve had since the election has been a silver lining in an otherwise terribly dark cloud.

    I’m supporting Tim in the leadership election in part because I think he’s the candidate most likely to enable us to reconnect with voters. It’s not like we had loads of bad policies in the election, not like we had a terrible or indefensible record. But voters just weren’t prepared to listen to us, or to trust us. I think it’s crucial that our new leader be able to stand out from the Westminster crowd and make people feel in their gut that he is on their side.

  • Neil Sandison 21st Jun '15 - 7:14pm

    Welcome Richie .You will not be alone with your environmental credentials you will find many like minded souls within our ranks. Many of whom frequently campaign rather just complain about how we treat our planet and how we can better manage and not abuse our dwindling natural resources .

  • @brianD “superior put downs”? I’ll give you a superior put down. Grow up and put your brain in gear before engaging you typing finger.

    Lord, what a delicate lot some people appear to thin k our new members are. If they were as delicate as you suggest, they would never have joined us after the recent election result!

  • Kevin Manley 22nd Jun '15 - 9:41pm

    I guess that makes me a Tim-inator! πŸ˜‰

  • Kevin

    Or a Wee sleekit Timrous beastie? But I am for the Tim-fibrulator as well!

  • @ Mr Wallace

    I agree with that 100%! I take it you are endorsing Tim Farron from your position of obscure detachment?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Roland
    And the LibDems continue their silence on free school meals for all pupils, which is the real solution to this issue as then schools can simply provide meals to...
  • Roland
    >I’m making the assumption that this is about higher paid bankers The budget surcharge change was about the Banks, which are colloquially being referred t...
  • Brad Barrows
    The international community must be careful to avoid double standards over its attitude towards the Taliban. The Taliban regard same-sex sexual relationships as...
  • Nonconformistradical
    @Simon R I'm making the assumption that this is about higher paid bankers - investment bankers etc. But actually I feel the banking industry sometimes forge...
  • Barry Lofty
    For the majority of us, life goes on without any noticeable difference!...
Thu 28th Oct 2021