Opinion: This is our #LibDemFightBack

Fightback54kAs a long-time supporter of the Liberal Democrats I decided to join the party about two weeks before polling day. I was a member of the BBC project “Generation 2015” which was giving young people aged 18 – 24 the chance to get their voices heard and put across what matters to them when it comes time to cast their – or should I say our – votes and I came across so many passionate people my age and some a lot younger than me who were members of the parties they supported. Even though those who had the most influence on me were members of the Conservatives and the Labour party their support was one of the main reasons I wanted to join my party and make a difference.

So now, five days after polling day, we’re looking at a difficult time in the party. However, I would urge us all to not feel disheartened. Since polling day we’ve had an increase of over 9000 members to our party. That’s an increase in membership of 20%. It can be easy to feel like this is a minor accomplishment when you compare it to Labour’s 20,000 new members. However, that increase is only 10.5%. Our #LibDemFightback, as it is being called on social media, is not about to start; it has already started.

Our opponents expect the party to just blink out of existence after our defeat at the polls. Our job is make sure we don’t let that happen. I was on Radio Scotland on Friday 8th May and asked if I felt I’d “pinned my flag to a sinking ship” and my answer received some less than favourable responses on social media suggesting I was naïve, amongst other things I’m not willing to commit to text. However I feel the growth in our party since polling day shows that my optimism is anything but naïve. We’re in a time where liberalism is increasingly important and unfortunately scaremongering won when it came time to cast votes. This isn’t the time for complacency and to think “someone else will do it so I won’t bother”. I don’t want to say it’s a “call to arms” but the numbers really speak for themselves. For a 20% increase in less than 5 days, I’d say we’ve got the rumblings of important change and to be a part of it will be incredibly exciting. Many of you reading this may be thinking “Oh to have the blissful ignorance of a 22 year old again” but can I assure you that this is not what this is. This is me and 9000 new members seeing the Liberal Democrats as the way forward and feel this party is the party that’s going to secure our future. This is our #LibDemFightback and we need to show we’re not going to run away at the sign of hardships. We owe it to not only ourselves, but to our children and their children.

* Rebecca Plenderleith is a member in Dumbarton and blogs at Some Ramblings.

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13 Comments

  • The Liberal cause and movement only ends when people stop figthing for it. This is far from happening. It is fantastic to hear a new generation proudly joining the prty and advocating the values that beind us together.

  • Jane Ann Liston 12th May '15 - 12:38pm

    Agreed, well done and welcome, Rebecca.

  • Welcome!

  • In Tewkesbury we have increased our membership by 17 since the election. Back in January we had 93 members, we got to 106 members by election day owing to the hard work of our membership secretary, Mike Dray, We are now on 123.
    May be more, two people joined last night.

  • Shan, I joined because of his resignation. We must not go back we have to move forward, the past is past.

  • Yes… a warm Welcome.

  • A Social Liberal 12th May '15 - 7:10pm

    Are the majority of new members truly new or those who left because of the debacle of the last five years?

  • Gwynfor Tyley 12th May '15 - 10:13pm

    Shan, theakes – I think the electorate consider that we have paid the price for the last 5 years and the slate is wiped clean. As such, as much as I consider going into coalition was the right thing to do and Nick probably had the most difficult time any politician could imagine, we shouldn’t go back but build from the clean slate. Sorry, Nick.

  • Welcome Rebecca. And thankyou.
    You (and all the other new members) don’t know how much you are doing for us long-term party stalwarts. Don’t let the comments from opponents bother you. Liberalism has always been sneered at by those people. They don’t understand us and never will. But you are carrying a torch now that has a proud history and – thanks to you – a proud future.

  • AC Trussell 13th May '15 - 2:55pm

    Welcome Rebecca, The Tories are called “the nasty party” ( Teresa May). I think Labour became the angry party.
    Welcome to the friendly Party.
    It takes an open mind to be a Lib/Dem. Mine is that open -that I think ; in 5/10 yrs time ( people have short memories- they forgot how bad the situation was in 2010) Nick could be our leader again :-).

  • Margaret Gray 13th May '15 - 4:20pm

    Having also rejoined a week before the election I’d be out again if Nick were in charge.
    I felt utterly betrayed when he handed the 2010 election to the Tories after we’d spent so many years fighting to keep them out. I knew we would get double crossed and manipulated because of the way local council Tories treated us – it was simply impossible to cooperate with them, their ruthlessness, arrogance, and deviousness was extreme.
    Nick is a nice guy but his political judgement is poor. Look at the Rose Garden, the tuition fees fiasco (it had been agreed we could abstain) and the timing of the voting reform referendum, the latter losing us most of our council seats here. I’ve joined the SLF, I don’t believe the Orange bookers who’ve been in control represent properly the liberal viewpoint, and they clearly don’t even appeal to the electorate. For a fresh honest compassionate inspiring leadership candidate I’m eagerly and anxiously waiting for Tim Farron to declare. He’s not a “political” operator either but sometimes genuineness and decency will appeal better than clever calculation.

  • SIMON BANKS 13th May '15 - 5:04pm

    Well said. We’ve been written off before. As a supporter at the opposite end of the age spectrum, I do find it deeply depressing that in terms of numbers of MPs we’ve been pushed back to 1970 or 1959, as if Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy, the 1990s and all the rest had never happened, and that we’ve been wiped out on councils like Liverpool.

    But we are full of fight. In Scotland the bullying, centralist, control-freak tendencies of the SNP will turn people off sooner or later. In England and Wales we’ll get credit just for not giving up and starting the fight-back right away.

    There is a silver lining in the result. I could see a distinct chance that the Tories would finish well ahead of Labour but still needing us for a majority, Nick Clegg would approve another deal, the party wouldn’t be bloody-minded enough to say no and faced with us having been the moderating gizmo screwed on to the Tories for ten years, I’d finally have to go. As it is, there’s a job to be done.

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