Opinion: Why I rejoined the Liberal Democrats

I sit here having just rejoined the Liberal Democrats. I was previously a member and considered getting active in my local area. I left because I felt dismayed by the type of politics that I was seeing happening around the country. UKIP were making gains in the European elections, every politician I hear or representative blamed other parties for the failures of the past. In 2010 I was very active within my personal capacity to do so. I delivered campaign material on the doors in all weathers. I had conversations with lifelong Conservative voters in an attempt to highlight the reasons why more Liberal Democrats in Parliament would be good for society. However, since then it seemed that even 4 years on everyone blames someone else for things not getting better.

The cost of living is still too high and house prices are still astronomical. I saw an article by Shelter the housing charity that if the cost of food raised the same as house prices, 8 sausages would cost £8.90 or a single chicken would cost £51.33! Also more that 1 million families put off buying their children new shoes to pay their rent or mortgage. As a Children’s Social Worker I work with some families who are in desperate need and many of the families I work with can not afford new school uniforms. There has been an improvement though, The Personal Allowance increase, a Liberal Democrat policy directly thought about by a grass roots activist, has enabled these families to have more and more money spare to enable them to afford basic essentials because less is being taken as Income Tax.

I believe in a fairer society, a society where everyone has opportunity to achieve their full potential. Last week it was reported that 70% the people who hold the most prestigious roles and arguable the most powerful in society occupy went to Private Schools and whereas only 7% of the population actually attend these schools. This has been a trend for many years and certainly was not new information. However, I think it highlights some of the fundamental problems with the way the country works. The majority of society remains unrepresented by the people who hold the most power. As a party the Liberal Democrats are democratic from the grass roots meaning that everyone gets a vote on how the party is run. If society is going to change and become accurately represented for the views they hold, then I feel being part of a party that believes in true democracy, not the buying power of a few wealthy individuals or negotiating skills of trade unionists, then the Liberal Democrats is the party for me.

The media belittle the Liberal Democrats and suggest that we are a failing party. However I disagree. For the smallest of the three parties with the smallest budget, actually there have been real successes which have helped the most vulnerable in society. I believe that collective action can create change for everyone. I believe in a fairer society which gives everyone equal opportunity to succeed, not one where success is limited to an elite minority. I believe we have a duty to do all we can to enable to future generations to achieve lives they want. That to me is why I have rejoined the Liberal Democrats, because I want to be part of that change.

 

* Anthony Vaughan is a Liberal Democrat member who lives in South Somerset.

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18 Comments

  • Allan Heron 1st Sep '14 - 4:22pm

    I am assuming that the author of this piece is incorrectly shown

  • “the Liberal Democrats are democratic from the grass roots meaning that everyone gets a vote on how the party is run”

    Actually, we’re really not that democratic currently.. Hopefully the vote on OMOV at Autumn Conference will change things so every member is actually entitled to a vote.

  • James Moore 1st Sep '14 - 4:23pm

    Caron I didn’t even realise you ever left?! :/

  • James Moore 1st Sep '14 - 4:23pm

    Ignore/delete my last comment, clearly the author was set incorrectly!

  • I was very puzzled by this. Happily the authorship has been corrected.

  • Anthony Vaughan 1st Sep '14 - 4:55pm

    Indeed the authorship was incorrect at first. It was me and not Caron. My first post so please don’t be harsh 🙂

  • George Carpenter 1st Sep '14 - 5:14pm

  • Morwen Millson 1st Sep '14 - 5:34pm

    Welcome back Anthony.

  • Anthony’s argument for supporting the Lib Dems is flawed. Despite all these years of this dreadful Tory-Lib Dem coalition government (That the Lib Dems themselves are responsible for) he can only mention one thing the Lib Dems achieved and conveniently forgets to mention that it is the Lib Dems and their Tory friends who are responsible for squeezing families at the very bottom with these ruthless austerity measures. More than one million families can’t buy their children shoes and pay the rent? If you want someone to blame look at your own party.

  • Welcome back Anthony!

  • Ian MacFadyen 1st Sep '14 - 7:15pm

    Welcome back.

  • Little Jackie Paper 1st Sep '14 - 7:16pm

    ‘However, I think it highlights some of the fundamental problems with the way the country works. The majority of society remains unrepresented by the people who hold the most power.’

    This is very blase. It seems to work on an assumption that getting people elected who are, ‘not the usual suspects,’ (for want of a better term) will somehow bring about meaningful change. First, it overlooks the huge generational divide about which Labour and coalition have done nothing.

    Worse however, it however rather conflates power with agency. Corporate interest, foreign money, private big business – I’m afraid the local council isn’t in much of a position to take these on. It is like Labour’s fondness for mixing expressing a preference with choice.

    For 30 plus years this country has embraced the worst of all worlds. We have attempted to have US style corporatism with taxes that are far too high. At the same time we have aspired to North European style social services with a tax take far too low. The result has been a grisly generational loading, private interests competing for, not in, markets and a government that is hollow. It’s not the hackneyed stereotype of the wrong sort of person getting elected (though I don’t deny that there is a diversity issue here). We seem to want politicians to be at once all powerful and at the same time to be glorified case workers. Of course the LDP is not the only party in this bind and I make no partizan point here. But there is more to this than, ‘people like me,’ standing and being elected.

  • Anthony Vaughan 1st Sep '14 - 8:54pm

    Well I didn’t expect the need to point out that this was not a thesis for a PhD in Liberal Democrat Membership, it is a short (just over 500 word) opinion article. At no point have I tried to suggest that the reasons mentioned were the definitive list. The main expression I want to get across is that there are two choices, either stand from the sidelines and begrudge any attempt to improve things or get involved and help attempt to shape the future.

    I am choosing to stand up for things I believe in, to join other people who also feel that opportunity in my town, district, county and country should not be limited to how much money my parents can use to influence policy. I believe in helping people regardless of earnings and not looking after my “chums” or being driven by Union leaders. Over the next two days millions of school children are going to school knowing that they will get to have a hot meal, not having to hope that mum or dad remembered to pack a lunch.

    I would encourage anyone to get involved in their local party. Red, Blue, Gold (or Green), it is better to be involved than to sit and watch and then moan.

  • Glad to hear you’ve rejoined – welcome back.

  • Welcome back.

    Good to hear you wish to help make our party and country more liberal. 🙂

  • Welcome back!

  • David Bertram 3rd Sep '14 - 12:30pm

    Good for you.

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