By Michael Shaw who normally blogs at Michaelshawlyni.wordpress.com
I recently a received a very warm welcome from Liberal Democrats when I defected, particularly from Liberal Reform and Party President, Tim Farron. Fellow Liberal Youth Member Kavya Kaushik was instrumental in my defection when I became disillusioned with the continuous securicrat approaches from Theresa May and tax cuts for millionaires. These being lead by the tories in what is Britain’s toughest recession since the great depression, as a result I began to question my membership .
I had been considering my defection since last year’s English riots, where the Tories used it as an excuse to demonise the working class and “Broken Britain” rather than addressing the problems behind the riots. Of course I agree that the behaviour was mindless, unthoughtful and turned into a looting fest, but I always delve into what is behind every action which to me is what being a Liberal is all about – never judge what you don’t understand and always attempt to when you don’t. A thorough Eurosceptic I remained in the Conservatives for this very reason, believing that the Libertarian and Liberal wings of the party would pull through and the party would change with the times to accommodate social change and liberty.
I was wrong: I was told to “get a job” whilst working 24 hours a week on top of University by a Tory who had only ever worked for TEA party like pressure groups or the Tories themselves. Out of touch is an understatement of what tories are like. They show off the few members in their grassroots who were not luckily born into wealth, but really the only people listened to in the party are those who can pay for receptions with influential members. Thus the democratic and federal structure of the Liberal Democrats was another appeal to me and also eased my concerns about being a Eurosceptic in a pro-EU party.
Once we came to the budget: I still hadn’t defected but I was right on the edge of doing so. I agreed with almost all of the budget, except for a loathing towards the increase in fuel duty. Celebrating a move to take 2 million of Britain’s poorest out of tax together I was in a minority in the tories who were celebrating, as usual, the moves that helped those who were already able to help themselves in the toughest economic times in recent history. I do agree that the 50p tax should be scrapped, I think income tax is too high – for everyone. Cutting taxes for millionaires in a recession is not the right priority – Cutting tax for the poorest and taxing those who manipulated money and got us into this mess should be the priority and the Lib Dems had this spot on.
One thing that enticed me to the Lib Dems was that I am firmly in favour of more democracy and a fully elected House of Lords and with my economic opinion moving to agree with the Liberal Democrats and my social opinions already there it only took Theresa May’s surveillance plans to push me over the divide to the right side of government who govern for the many, not the few.