By Jordan Montgomery
I joined the Liberal Democrats back in 2014, probably at the height of their unpopularity. My politically inclined friends would often question why I would ever join such a party – the Lib Dems were set to be decimated at the next election, they had alienated students through the tuition fees fiasco, and had entered a coalition with the Conservatives to the chagrin of so many of their supporters. Yet despite their tattered reputation, in this party I could see so much potential, not just as a home for my political views but for all of the United Kingdom.
In the Lib Dems I saw the only party that truly stands for freedom, democracy, and common sense. This, unlike Labour and the Conservatives, is expressed through policy and principled beliefs, not rhetoric and infighting. They supported personal freedom through their liberal drugs policy, their defence of online privacy, and their securing of equal marriage for same-sex couples. They supported economic liberty through raising the tax-free threshold, their support for fair competition through regulation, their evidence-based and measured taxation policies, and their general commitment to free trade and an open market economy. The Liberal Democrats were the only major party that would bring about meaningful reform to our outdated and undemocratic political system, by creating an elected House of Lords and introducing a proportional electoral system for general elections, meaning no votes are wasted, and so that never again parties with 35% of the vote are allowed to hold 100% of the power at Westminster.
Since then my party has maintained the clearest and most unwavering message on Brexit: that the people should be allowed a vote on the final deal with the European Union, not just politicians. Our desire for a People’s Vote is not us ‘trying again’ until we get the answer we want, but presenting an honest referendum to the public, without the dishonesty and lies that plagued the last vote. It would be a referendum where the public could truly see what they were voting for, instead of voting on vague and impossible promises. Unlike Labour and Jeremy Corbyn who sit painfully on the fence over the entire issue, or the Conservatives who cannot negotiate amongst themselves what they want (let alone with the EU), the Liberal Democrats have been certain of our views from the start.
We are a party of common sense, that does not give in to dogma or narrow-mindedness; we borrow from left, right, and centre, so long as it furthers our vision of a Britain that is fair, free and open, and in which in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We put people before party, a stance that has undoubtably hurt us politically, yet we continue to support what is right not just what is popular. If one believes in these principles then I honestly believe there is no place for you in the modern Conservative, Labour, Green, or UKIP parties.
It is for all the reasons above that I joined the Liberal Democrats, and why I would do so again and again. It is a party with a clear message, strong and practical principles, and a party not held to whims of powerful unions and rich donors. They present positive and realistic solutions to the problems facing society, with remedies that would make us a freer, wealthier, more tolerant, and ultimately happier nation.