Alex Nye is a new columnist for the Libertine, and will be documenting his thoughts on the current position of the Liberal Democrat , and more generally.
We may as well be honest, things are pretty grim for us Lib Dems right now. We exist in a post-tuition fee debate world. The echoes of Cleggmania are gone, and we face the difficult task of being the minority grouping in a Coalition Government. As a party, we signed pledges before the election promising to vote against any rise in fees, and, ultimately, our MPs broke that pledge. This is simply a fact, and something that we must not shy away from. We are in a Coalition and of course we have to compromise, but I personally cannot say that to people and expect them to accept that answer because lets face it, that just doesn’t wash. Being unpopular is often a reality of government, as any Labour or Conservative party member will tell you.
This post will introduce my own thoughts on the state of us as a party, and wonder if there is light at the end of it all. A recent members survey showed, 74% of our members believed that being in coalition was ‘bad for the party’s electoral health’, a figure that has worsened over this year. Personally it would appear 26% of our members are incorrect, but lets move on.
We Lib Dems, forever the third party and sole occupants of the moral high-ground, are just now getting our fair share of electoral hatred that inevitably comes with ascending to power and not being able to deliver every issue you promised your voters. These things happen – remember, Gordon Brown promised the end of boom & bust economics? Hmmm.
We need to remember that we Lib Dems do a lot of good in government, we have taken the poorest in Britain out of tax for one. As members of the party, we need to stay patient. The next election isnt scheduled until 2015, so we have three years to sort out what we would like to be written about us after this parliament.
So what bright light at the end of the tunnel is there for us? Well, the prospect of equal marriage is one that should please every lover of freedom and liberty, and will no doubt (when achieved) be the biggest success of this government in terms of social reform. Depending on your economic persuasion the prospect of a vastly reduced deficit and cut in government spending could well be one that delights you. Especially after the failure of AV, we need to make sure we press on with fairer taxes, and deliver economic recovery while regaining the trust of the British people. These issues are the light which could be waiting for us at the end of this parliament; if not, said light could well be the red hot burning flames of electoral oblivion. We shall wait and see.
If you have persevered to this point, thanks, I will ensure future posts have more coherence and general relevance, but don’t expect many jokes. I don’t do jokes.
Alex Nye is Vice Chair of University of Sheffield Liberal Youth, where he studies History and Politics. He is Head of News at Forge Radio, and Libertine’s new columnist. You can follow him on twitter as @Alexgnye
This article solely represents the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Liberal Youth, the Liberal Democrat party, nor the editorship of the Libertine.