Reasons to vote Liberal Democrat

The Voice has covered the succession of positive reasons to vote for the Liberal Democrats given in recent days by The Observer, Polly Toynbee, The Guardian and The Independent, so it seems only fitting to top that list today with a reminder of the party’s own choice of words (from europe.libdems.org.uk):

The European Parliament election is a big choice for Britain.

Labour’s arrogance has messed up Britain’s relationship with other European countries

The Conservatives and UKIP think that on its own Britain can face the economic storm, climate change, international crime, people-trafficking and terrorism

Liberal Democrats know effective cooperation creates prosperity – more than 3 million jobs in the UK depend on trade with other EU countries.

Liberal Democrats are working with our European neighbours to protect Britain and catch terrorists and criminals who operate across national borders.

Liberal Democrats know that countries have to work together to tackle climate change.

Vote Liberal Democrat and make a difference.

The manifesto contains an extensive section on how we would make Europe work better, including:

Spend Better, Crack Down on Fraud: Liberal Democrats want to see tougher controls on EU countries and the EU itself for the management of EU money. Both countries and EU institutions should be named, shamed and fined for repeat offences – for example the Rural Payments Agency for England and Wales has a poor track record of using EU funds. The EU must also end unnecessary spending on the organisation of the EU institutions themselves. Scrapping the European Parliament’s monthly move to Strasbourg and basing it permanently in Brussels would save around €200m a year. We do not see the need, in the current context, for any significant growth in the budget’s size, nor the abolition of the British rebate. But the EU budget is in urgent need of wholesale reform so that money is spent only on the things the EU really needs to do and there is a more rational system for contributions by member states. This means in particular further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

More Democracy, Stronger Parliaments: We want those who are elected, such as MEPs and MPs, to have greater power so that EU institutions can be held properly to account. That is why we support the Lisbon Treaty which gives extra powers for national parliaments to scrutinise and object to EU proposals. Because protecting our civil liberties is a priority for Liberal Democrats, we want the democratic European Parliament to have the power to scrutinise and amend EU justice and home affairs agreements such as on data protection, privacy and fundamental legal rights. We also seek greater involvement for ministers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at European meetings where there are clear advantages, such as farming and fisheries policy…

Holding MEPs to Account: Liberal Democrat MEPs have been at the forefront of the campaign to reform the European Parliament. It was our MEPs who blew the whistle on the lack of openness and malpractice. Many of the reforms we have argued for will come into effect in July 2009. Liberal Democrats expect the highest standards of public service and honesty from all our representatives. That is why all Liberal Democrat MEPs and candidates have signed a binding Code of Conduct on the use of their parliamentary allowances. This includes making public the names of all staff, including family members, and strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the European Parliament rules. We expect all other MEPs to do the same. We will continue to work to reform MEPs expenses, ensure transparency and end the abuses that have undermined public confidence.

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22 Comments

  • Herbert Brown 4th Jun '09 - 11:42am

    In my area the party is pushing the following as one of three reasons to vote Lib Dem in the European elections (the other two being the Gurkhas and Tory MPs claiming for second homes):

    Labour are out of the race … To keep the Conservatives out, vote Lib Dem – voting Labour will only help the Conservatives win!

    Can anyone explain how this works in the London euro-constituency?

  • Lovely.

    Here’s the reason why I [i]won’t[/i] be voting Lib Dem:

    These are Euro elections, and Europe is the one issue where I totally disagree with party policy.

    I haven’t decided who I [i]will[/i] vote for yet, or even whether I’ll vote at all. That’ll probably depend on what happens to affect my mood between now and knocking-off time.

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Jun '09 - 3:25pm

    @Iainm:
    Do you disagree with LibDem policy *on* Europe or LibDem policy *in* Europe? If it’s a Lisbon referendum you’re after, or opposition to joining the euro ever (I’m more or less with you on that one if so) or other changes in our relationship with Europe, you shouldn’t let these govern your choice today. All of these are issues decided by discussion between national governments and in principle irrelevant to choice of party for the European Parliament.

  • here’s a very good reason NOT to vote lib dem –

    http://adrianshort.co.uk/2009/05/15/418/

    pretty desperate, even for the Limp Dims – and probably very close to being illegal under electoral law.

  • It’s not as simple as that. Politicians may all complain that too many people vote according to domestic issues during EU elections, but you know very well that those same politicians will treat any good showing in a euro election as a vindication of their party’s national policies in general and its European policies in particular, with no distinction made between ‘in’ and ‘on’. And as far as the Lib Dems go, I just can’t sign up to that.

  • Herbert Brown 4th Jun '09 - 9:12pm

    “here’s a very good reason NOT to vote lib dem –
    http://adrianshort.co.uk/2009/05/15/418/

    This is precisely the point I was raising.

    I have seen this kind of thing defended on the basis that no matter how misleading the material may be, it is not actually untrue.

    But to say that “voting Labour will only help the Conservatives win” in an election under a proportional system – and in a European constituency in which the Lib Dems came third last time – clearly is untrue.

  • Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
    Good golly Miss Molly and boats
    Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
    Jump back in the alley and nanny goats

    18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
    All other mammals plus equal votes
    Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
    Being rather silly, and porridge oats

    A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
    You’re welcome, we can spare it – yellow socks
    Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
    Going on 40 – no electric shocks

    The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot
    A little drop of claret – anything that rocks
    Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain’t spotty,
    Sitting on the potty – curing smallpox

  • Herbert Brown 4th Jun '09 - 10:05pm

    Mark

    The question is, is it true that voting Labour in London in the European elections “will only help the Conservatives win”?

    From your post, I’m not clear whether your answer is “Yes” or “No”.

  • Herbert Brown 4th Jun '09 - 10:39pm

    Mark

    In your eagerness to attack Adrian Short, I think you must have missed my question.

    Is it true that voting Labour in London in the European elections “will only help the Conservatives win”?

  • Herbert Brown 4th Jun '09 - 11:21pm

    Mark

    “I don’t think your question is a relevant one due to the presence of the word “Sutton”, which makes for a different meaning than your question rests on.”

    I can’t believe you’re serious.

    This is a Good Morning leaflet, delivered on the day of the European elections.

    The headings are “REMEMBER TO VOTE LIB DEM THIS THURSDAY” and “MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON THURSDAY”.

    The sentences quoted are under a heading “3 more reasons to vote Lib Dem”. They read “Labour are out of the race in Sutton. To keep the Conservatives out, vote Lib Dem – voting Labour will only help the Conservatives win!

    Are you seriously trying to tell me that this is a statement about some other election, and not the one today?

    And that the recipients were intended to understand it as a statement about a different election, and not the one today?

    Please do me the courtesy of giving me a proper reply. Is it true that voting Labour in London in the European elections “will only help the Conservatives win”? Is it true, or is it false?

  • Herbert Brown 5th Jun '09 - 8:52am

    Mark

    I assume you’ve concluded that discretion is the better part of valour.

    At least you’re not willing to defend the statement in the leaflet. But I’d be more impressed if you could bring yourself to say “No, it’s not true, and they shouldn’t have said it”.

  • Herbert Brown 5th Jun '09 - 10:15am

    Mark

    I appreciate your difficulty, but the question I’m asking is a very simple one:

    Is it true that voting Labour in London in the European elections “will only help the Conservatives win”?

    Surely that’s a question you can say “Yes” or “No” to?

  • Foregone Conclusion 5th Jun '09 - 10:42am

    I also have serious problems with the ‘Vote Lib Dem, or X will get in’ strategy.

    Firstly, it’s essentially dishonest. With the D’Hondt system, any vote for one of the big three, and often for the Greens and UKIP and the Nats in Scotland and Wales, is not a wasted vote. I think it would be perfectly legitimate to put on ‘a vote for the Christian People’s Alliance is a vote for the Conservatives!’ because they’re not viable. But Labour and the Conservatives plainly are. So it’s dishonest – and if we are dishonest trying to get elected, we frankly don’t deserve to get in.

    Secondly, it must piss a lot of voters off. You know, the group of well-educated, politically interested individuals who are more likely than any other to vote Lib Dem. I certainly would be if I got one of these leaflets through my door.

    Finally, though, it reinforces the FPTP mode of thinking. Even for a PR election, many people are still thinking in terms of it being FPTP. Unconsciously, people still think of the Lib Dems as an unviable alternative – normally demonstrated by contempt for it not on policy or leadership grounds but as a joke. Doing things like this reinforces their thinking.

    It’s time for someone at Cowley Street to learn that if you try to squeeze a PR election, you’re likely to be crushed.

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