Tag Archives: #newmembersday #libdemfightback

#New Members’ Day: Why I joined the Liberal Democrats #7

Elaine & Anna campaign in Tower HamletsOriginally from Russia (actually born in the last years of theSoviet Union), since moving to the UK I for long time didn’t join any political party. The concept of joining a party in my mind wasn’t a voluntary thing, as it was compulsory in my parents’ day in the USSR and there was only one party one could join. However while finding out more and more about different parties in the UK the shock of actually being able to choose who to join brought me to realising what it is I care most about.

I care about democracy, again a word that doesn’t apply to Russia even in the present day. I care about equal opportunities for everyone, Human Rights and liberal values. The choice was obvious.

I deeply regret that when I first joined the Liberal Democrat I didn’t do much else – I went to one conference, that’s about it. I think it was more like a gesture, sort of saying “I cannot vote for you (because after 9 years and 8 months that I’m living in the UK I still can’t vote) but I join the party to show that if I had the right to vote, I would vote for you.”

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#NewMembersDay Why I joined the Liberal Democrats #5

The weekend after the election I surveyed my generous Surrey garden that I have acquired despite my Georgist Liberal views and decided that, partly in the spirit of national austerity, and mostly as the previous gardener had given up this commission, I would mow the lawn myself.

I started in the middle and mowed longitudinal strips up and down the lawn. After the first few lengths of concentrated mowing I took a step back to admire my progress and was shocked to find the expected pleasing straight lines were in fact ugly wavy wobbles.

Of course many of you will be thinking what I was thinking, that this is an obvious allegory for the Liberal Democrats in recent years. You see there is great temptation when mowing to look down at the line of the previous pass, and to follow a path with the cut lawn directly to the left and the unmown lawn directly to the right. This feels good at the time yet is ultimately unproductive. The key to a straight lawn is to ignore what is going on to the left and right of you, but to travel towards a fixed point in the distance, a strategy that will happily lead to a lawn to be proud of!

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Opinion: If cockroaches can survive a nuclear bomb, Liberal Democrats can survive the election #NewMembersDay

Clegg and Cameron standing next to each other in the Downing Street Rose Garden felt like a new era in British politics. I joined  soon afterwards, excited at the prospect of an economic and socially liberal government for the first time in decades. Despite the abuse it got me, I was happy to constantly defend the government, fully believing (which I still do) that the Lib Dems were reining in the worst of the Tories.

Around mid-2014, my own views started to shift from classical liberal to, as Clegg has called it, the “radical centre”, as well as a move towards intersectional feminism. While the Lib Dems still matched me ideologically, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with politics altogether as I underwent an ideological identity crisis. I thus left the party by not renewing my membership later that year.

Fast forward to May 2015, and the polls are predicting the Lib Dems will receive around 25 seats, and potentially more due to the famed incumbency factor the Lib Dems rightfully enjoy access to. Then the exit poll came. At 4am I was beginning to run out of gin to drown my sorrows in and to make matters worse, Lynne Featherstone lost her seat. I do not live in her constituency, but the work she has done for LGBT+ rights and campaigning against FGM was being systematically erased as the electorate voted her out. I found myself on the verge of tears that such a terrific woman had been rejected, and with this, I emotionally re-joined the party I’d recently left.

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#NewMembersDay Why I joined the Liberal Democrats #4

Here are some more new members who responded to our request on Twitter to tell us why they are one of the 10,000 people who have joined the Liberal Democrats in the past few days.

Here’s what Thomas Liebers told us:

I was already politically minded but the Lib Dems best represent my  views on equality and rights,healthcare, business, relationship with
the EU and constiutional challenges in present day UK;
I’m a professional with experience in healthcare, science and business and I believe that i can contribute my skills and knowledge to the Lib Dems policy discussions;
I want to take an active part in local politics where I live (Richmond, Surrey) and there is an active local Lib Dem party presence;
I’m serving in a voluntary capacity in the community already which gives me a degree of credibility;
I want to take part in the leadership elections for the new Leader of the Lib Dems;
I want to take my part in shaping policy and politis for the entire United Kingdom!

Luke Tibbitts lives in Nick’s constituency. In a long post on his own blog (which, by the way, we hope he and others registers on Lib Dem Blogs, he explains why he was motivated to join up. Here’s a snippet:

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#NewMembersDay Why I joined the Liberal Democrats #3

Some more new members respond to our tweet and tell us why they are part of the many thousands who have joined the party in the last few days. We asked people on Twitter to tell us why they had joined. Here are some of the responses:

Lee Wright:

In 2010 I voted for the Liberal Democrats. I believed and bought into Nick Clegg and his party’s vision. When the party became the third-largest in the House of Commons and entered the coalition I was hugely disappointed that is was the Tories they would be working with. However, I paid close attention to the party’s progress over the past five years and could see the positives that the Liberal Democrats were making. The huge loss of seats last week was nothing more than I expected. The moment Nick Clegg put one foot in the door of number 10 with David Cameron, the party was doomed to fail next time around. The public, and some supporters of the party, had had their fingers burnt. Once bitten, twice shy. Nick Clegg was never going to survive another day as leader after May 7th. He took a bullet for the party, which has taken five years to hit the target.

But anyone who thought that the Liberals were dead, should have watched Lord Ashdown on the BBC’s Question Time programme last Friday. He won me over. His passion and determination for the party to continue was all the persuading I needed to pay and become a member of the party for the first time in my life. Now Tim Farron says the party must “turn our anger into action.” Nothing truer has ever been said. With Labour at sea, and a majority Tory government steering the ship, anyone in the country who values a fair, free and open society will need a Liberal to fight their corner. And I’m up for it.

Chris Buckett

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#NewMembersDay: A Liberal Democrat Reading List

I, famously, don’t write for Lib Dem Voice. But on a day like today, how could I not? Apparently, there are like ten thousand of you guys now. Welcome! Genuinely, really, welcome. In order to help you acclimatise to the culture of the party there’s a few things you ought to be reading. A version of this was originally posted on my blog, and this one has been amended to reflect the comments there as well as my original post. YAY crowdsourcing!

The back of your membership card* is the first and most important thing for you to read as a new Lib Dem. The front will have some sort of pretty picture on it, and your name, and your membership number. The back will say on it:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

which is an extract from our Constitution and is something that is graven on most of our hearts. Regardless of the fact that I have recently called for a constitutional convention, and I genuinely think that we should rebuild from the ground up (hopefully with your help), the idea that the words “no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity” won’t be a part of whatever comes out of that process is unconscionable.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. You can read this online, but my favourite version** is this 1912 edition which also contains two more of Mill’s essays – on running the government and on feminism – and an Introduction by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. You might be a bit put off the idea of reading a dry work of Victorian philosophy, but I promise you, it’s worth it. If you really can’t bear all that beautiful Victorian verbiage, though, there is a Spark Notes for On Liberty*** too.

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#NewMembersDay Why I joined the Liberal Democrats #2

This time a selection of new members tell us their reason for joining after we asked them on Twitter.

First up, Dagmar Mackett from Bewdley in the West Midlands

I joined because I felt the LibDems received no credit for its record in Government. Yes, mistakes had been made, but punishing the party in such a way means putting liberal Britain as a whole in jeopardy. Voters will realise this once they understand the full extent of what the Tory government will push through in forthcoming months, and a new strong LibDem “movement” will be required to try to counter balance this.

Now David Luton-Brown:

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Recent Comments

  • James Baillie
    I of course largely agree with Sandy's comment above. Re what Tristan said - I don't disagree with you that we need to shift Tory voters, as someone who grew...
  • Tom
    Yue He - I echo what others have said. It would be a crying shame if someone thought that they couldn’t be involved in our party or our parliament because of ...
  • Bob Hale
    Keep going Yue He. Your obvious enthusiasm will get you there!...
  • Cassie
    @Jenny, 'the government has spent...' Indeed. But that doesn't answer the question: 'what have repeated strikes achieved for rail workers?' Which so far is 'n...
  • Joe Bourke
    The Conservatives have already raised income taxes by freezing personal allowances and increasing corporation tax from 19% to 25%. Neither the Conservatives or ...