“7 Reasons NOT to vote for the Liberal Democrats” | Jimmy Allen


As we prepare ourselves for a second general election in three years, the usual posturing and electioneering is starting to build up to fever pitch levels. Fellow Student Voices contributor, Muhammed Hussain has very recently provided 7 reasons why he will be voting for the Liberal Democrats in June (read that here). 

It struck me that some of the points that he raised needed an alternative portrayal without the support of the yellow tinted glasses.

Brexit

The Lib Dems have been very keen to portray that the Conservatives as pushing for a 'Hard Brexit'. What is this alleged Hard Brexit? No one knows what sort of deal we are going to come away but the likes of Dim Tim and Cleggy have been allowed to foster a portrayal in the media that the government is determined to decimate any relationship we have with the EU and ruin all economic links. There is absolutely no substance to back up what this supposed 'Hard Brexit' actually comprises of. In reality, the Conservative have revealed very little about what they seek from the negotiations as they desire not to allow issues become bargaining chips in the public domain. A tactic that is understandably frustrating for the public, but will prove to be necessary in hindsight. 

Furthermore, Muhammed seems to be at odds with what the Lib Dems actually propose for Brexit itself. He talks about a "People's Brexit" (yawn) without providing any detail as to what this actually consists of. Whilst senior figures in the party are proposing a second referendum to reverse the Leave result – a position they share with Tony Blair (the horror!). 

Votes for 16 and 17 year olds

This is one that actually really, really irritates me. It's a popular ploy by the likes of the Lib Dems and the Green party to generate more votes for their own causes. However, how can we widen the franchise to even younger voters when we have a major problem already with the turnout in the 18-24 year old bracket?

The 2015 general election only witnessed 43% of eligible voters in this age group vote, whilst it was just 44% in 2010. We already have a major problem connecting with this age group. Widening the franchise will not resolve this problem. All the main political parties are responsible for this and the Lib Dems would do very well to recognise this. 

Strong Protection of Rights 

Another lazy slur against the Conservatives, who have said all along that they would replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights that would incorporate all the necessary parts of the former. 

The House of Lords

It is fashionable to be seen wanting to reform the House of Lords, but I don't recall the Lib Dems agitating for as much change when they were in coalition with the Conservatives. It might have something to do with the 100+ peers that they have sitting on the red benches that were intent on derailing the process of triggering of Article 50. 

Furthermore, you cannot criticise the unelected House of the Lords and then vociferously defend the unelected European Commission and Presidents. 

I thought that I would add a few more reasons not to vote for the Lib Dems…

Education 

The party has no coherent policy for the country's education. Their website states that their stance is the following:

"We believe in a society where every young person, no matter what their background or circumstance, can grow up to achieve anything they set their mind to"

Sounds excellent to me, right? But then why do they go on to say that they oppose grammar schools which provide these very opportunities regardless of one's background? For a party that parades itself as 'Liberal', their opposition to choice and freedom when it comes to education contradicts the very banner which they parade themselves under. 

Can you believe what they say?

They were against tuition fees, but were part of a government that raised them. They were against VAT increases, but raised them. They wanted a Mansion Tax but they voted against it. They asked us to vote for the Alternative Vote system, but they really favour Proportional Representation. They want to reform the House of Lords but did nothing when in government. 

Tim Farron

Admittedly, if anyone has read what I may have said about Dim Tim before, one will know I am not his biggest fan. For starters, you should never trust a man who looks like Helga out of the children's cartoon show, "Hey Arnold". There is very little substance behind the man whilst he parades around looking for a new sound bite. Lord Ashcroft's polling towards the end of last year indicated that only 8% of "Remain" voters would like to see Farron as Prime Minister; significantly lower than the 58% Theresa May polled. 



On perhaps a more serious note, his issues with homosexuality will continue to cause him bother with the media.

I liked the William du Bois quote by Muhammed, although I am more of a Booker T Washington man myself. Dim Tim would do well to heed some of Washington's advice:

"Character, not circumstances, makes the man"


Jimmy Allen is a writer for Student Voices. 

“7 Reasons NOT to vote for the Liberal Democrats” | Jimmy Allen “7 Reasons NOT to vote for the Liberal Democrats” | Jimmy Allen Reviewed by Unknown on 14:53 Rating: 5

4 comments:

  1. I welcome your alternative take on the Liberal Democrats. However, there are a number of points which I disagree with that you mentioned in your article, which I simply could not leave unchallenged. Response to the below would be welcomed:

    People's Brexit: 1) this would entail in giving the British electorate a referendum on the outcome of the negotiations with the EU as promised by the Liberal Democrats. 2) Hard Brexit comprises of leaving the single market, leaving customs union, choosing a ‘no deal rather than a bad deal’ approach, etc.

    House of Lords Reform: 1) exact number of Liberal Democrat Peers – 102. 2) They could not go ahead with their plans because the Tories opposed it. 3) See evidence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19149212

    Strong Protection of Rights: So what are the ‘necessary’ parts of the Human Rights Act? Rhetorical Question: Anything that suits the Conservatives…!

    Education: Grammar Schools are an antidote to ‘opportunities regardless of one's background’. Evidence: 1) children who attend grammar schools overwhelmingly come from wealthy middle-class families. 2) Less than 3% of entrants to grammar schools are entitled to free school meals.

    Education (continued): The Liberal Democrats do have coherent policies regarding the education system. Practical example – they introduced ‘pupil premium’ when they were in government.

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    1. Brexit: How is a bad deal better than no deal? It would not be good to accept a punishing agreement that would cripple the economy to the benefit of Brussels? A tit-for-tat of extreme import tariffs would damage the EU economy as much as it would be detrimental to us.

      House of Lords: I note that you did not address the publicly unelected, and unaccountable EU lawmakers point that Jimmy Allen mentioned. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the matter.

      Strong Protection of Rights: The convention of human rights, as dictated by EU law will become the law of the UK via the "Great Repeal Bill" once we officially have left the EU. Then, and only then, will our elected MPs decide which laws to keep, and which to scrap/modify. The view that a Tory government would throw away the basic human rights of the UK citizenry is laughable. It would be political suicide (and completely unthinkable in a free, modern, secular society) to do away with basic human rights.

      Lastly, with regard to education, why are selective schools such a bad thing? The Lib Dem line of:

      "We believe in a society where every young person, no matter what their background or circumstance, can grow up to achieve anything they set their mind to"

      surely means that if you are well suited to our academic system (and not everyone is, and that's a shame, but people are good at different things), then you'll be able to succeed and excel in a selective environment. The very best and brightest who would very much benefit from a selective school environment, where they are pushed harder, should not be held back because it isn't the pc thing. Ideally, all comprehensive schools should be improved too, but that cannot happen overnight.

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    2. Muhammed, thanks for the feedback. Some of what I wrote in this article was very slightly in jest, but ultimately it had a serious undertone to it. I felt compelled to put something together as I was left feeling I had just read the Liberal Democrat manifesto after finishing your piece.

      People’s Brexit: I maintain this is a woolly term with no real substance. The public shouldn’t have to expect another referendum just for the Lib Dems to not respect the outcome (again) if they don’t like the result. As for ‘Hard Brexit’, there is no confirmation (yet) that we are looking to leave both the single market and customs union. The term Hard Brexit is a clever narrative from the Remain camp to fuel more Tory bashing. Sorry, but it is.

      House of Lords Reform – 1. I think you will find 102 peers would come in the bracket of 100+ despite your pedantic and trivial point 2. This is one of a number of issues the Lib Dems failed to display any political backbone on. Placing the blame solely with the Tories is lazy. What about the lack of Labour MPs who failed to support them too?

      Strong Protection of Rights – David Davis has already confirmed we will literally “copy & paste” most EU laws into UK legislation. Feeding the narrative that Tories want to get rid of our basic rights is up there with the urban myth that the Tories are privatising off the NHS.

      Education – opponents love to use the stats illustrating that grammar school places overwhelmingly go to middle class families. This is data that is greatly manipulated by two things: firstly, only 14% of the UK population was classed as working class (LSE study by Prof Mike Savage in 2013); secondly, the majority of the 164 UK grammar schools are located in the affluent area of South East England. Working class populations are even smaller in these parts of the UK. Hence the argument, build more grammars in less affluent areas and then we can seriously look at the sort of stats you are coming out with.

      The Lib Dems DO NOT have a coherent education policy. They would want to stick with the same broken comprehensive system that we know doesn’t work.

      I assume your failure to acknowledge the number of promises broken by the Lib Dems, the flawed argument for extending the franchise to 16 year olds and the criticisms of Tim Farron himself is an agreement on your half that I am correct.

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  2. You say the Lib Dems didn't push for House of Lords reform when in coalition.
    What about the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012 that would have introduced an elected Lords, if not for Tory backbenchers stopping it. Luckily I have a clip of Clegg defending it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz5jB_sxCec

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