So, finally, the year is sputtering half-heartedly to a close. At the time of writing, things are not looking good for the party which one senior Conservative (no prizes for guessing who!) once described as ‘a bunch of euro-loving road hump fetishists who change opinions in midstream like so many hermaphroditic parrotfish‘. According to the latest polls, the Liberal Democrats are about as popular as diphtheria, parking fines and rainy Monday mornings in mid-January. But as my shoulders begin to slump, I hear the voice of history whispering softly in my ear: Nil desperandum!
‘Never despair’ indeed. Just look at this statistic. In the 1951 general election, which pitted Churchill against Attlee, the Conservatives and Labour combined garnered an astounding 97% of the vote. By 2010, that score was down to 65%. You see, things just aren’t what they used to be. The old tribal loyalties have dissipated like the morning mist. Voters have become consumers. They’ve been used to picking and choosing from a rich and varied smörgåsbord of political options and, let’s face it, they’re not desperately keen on going back to ordering from the full à la carte.
Indeed, they’re sick to the back teeth of two-party politics. Ed in the red corner knocking seven bells out of Dave in the blue corner just doesn’t appeal any more to a British electorate which is more educated, more informed and (strange as it might seem) more political than ever before. And there’s only one party (despite the hogwash which has been talked about UKIP in recent weeks), which has the parliamentary strength, the local strength, the fresh ideas and the general verve to surf on this anti-Labservative tidal wave. That’s us, in the yellow corner, quietly and efficiently putting a Focus through every door and talking about our distinctive brand of politics with real pride.
We can get out of this slump, if we come up with some radically different policies for our next manifesto, as well as showing off what we are achieving in the trench war that is Coalition Government. And, do you know what, I think we will. If one iota of the enthusiasm that I’ve seen in Liberal Youth and the Liberal Democrats as a whole can be transmitted to a public asphyxiated by the status quo, then my money’s on the hermaphroditic parrotfish making one heck of a comeback. Just watch this space.
A happy festive season to you all.
Reece Edmends is a Liberal Youth member in Staffordshire. He formerly studied at Newcastle-under-Lyme School and will be taking up a place at university in 2013. He enjoys politics, literature, history, music and golf.
This article is solely the view of the author and should not be taken as the views of Liberal Youth, the Liberal Democrats, nor the editorship of the Libertine.