It’s time to stop apologising – it’s time to be proud!

Right now, it is an awesome time to be Liberal Democrat – it is an even better time to be a young Liberal Democrat. That may sound odd, but let me explain…

Liberal Youth’s Freshers campaign is about to begin. It’s an opportunity for those at Further Education Colleges or Universities to find out about Liberal Democrats and what we believe & campaign on.

And we are campaigning on some really important issues!

Equal Marriage is something that, quite frankly, should be no question over. Liberal Youth, and me personally, have supported the Out4Marriage campaign. It is a matter of accepting that whomever someone loves, the State shouldn’t discriminate. I’m proud that Liberal Democrats in Government are leading the charge on this.

Liberal Youth is again running a campaign on decriminalising cannabis, as part of an evidence-based drugs policy – did you know that in London alone 384,984 hours of police time is wasted on cannabis possession? How crazy is that.  But unless we tell people about it, then it is never going to change.

This year, the Olympics & Paralympics gave us so many inspirational role models – we didn’t need to photoshop them to make them beautiful. We believe everyone should have Body Confidence, especially as 1 in 4 Britons feel unhappy about their bodies. It’s about time the Government stepped in and stopped excessive photoshopping in advertising.

But in this country, we sometimes take for granted how well we have it. Right now, in Belarus people are being arrested for wanting fair elections & a free press. Liberal Youth is raising awareness to End Europe’s Last Dictatorship – and we have started this with Bears for Belarus.

But we should also be proud of what Nick Clegg & Liberal Democrat ministers are doing in Government. Giving a tax cut to 24 million of the lowest paid, ending child detention, investing £1 billion into employing young people, setting up the world’s first Green Investment Bank, cut energy bills & created 100,000 jobs with the Green Deal, scrapped ID cards, ring-fenced the Science budget in cash terms, reforming the Banks, committed £30 billion in infrastructure spending, invest £900 million to tackle tax evasion, tax avoidance & fraud, ruled out a third runway at Heathrow, build 170,000 affordable homes, delayed replacing Trident, doubled the operational allowance of troops in Afghanistan and so much more.

It is easy to be disinterested, and hard to be enthusiastic. But if you won’t shout about the good that Liberal Democrats are doing in Government, how will those people walking past your stall know?  We have a lot of Liberal achievements to be proud of, and Britain’s youth is liberal, so get out there, and get recruiting the next generation of liberals.

Harry Matthews is a member of Sheffield Liberal Democrats & Vice Chair of Liberal Youth

This article is solely the views of the author, and should not be taken to represent the views of the Liberal Democrat party, Liberal Youth, nor the editorship of the Libertine

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