Liberal Democrat votes not wasted

By Nick Love | 15/05/2010

Liberal Democrat votes not wasted

Thank you for voting for me and the Liberal Democrats on May 6th

To those voters that think that by voting Liberal Democrat they wasted their vote - can I reassure you that you most certainly did not.

I think that Nick Clegg and his team, after much soul searching, did the best for both the party and more importantly the UK in an almost impossible situation.

There were 3 distinct choices: 1) A coalition with Labour, which was wrong in so many ways. It would have involved another unelected Prime Minister who at best would have had a slim majority that relied on a patchwork of different minority parties that guaranteed no stability. This could have foundered at any point leading to another general election. Would the general public have forgiven us for that?

As it turns out this was scuppered by Labour negotiators who did everything to undermine our talks. This cynical positioning has meant that Labour has gone back into opposition.

Do not be surprised when they start trying to undermine the coalition in the hope that it fails so they can take full advantage. I call that spineless and myopic and a demonstration of total opposition rather than pragmatism for the good of the country at this fragile time.

2) Let the Conservatives form a minority government, during which they could have called an Election to suit themselves at any time to try and get a clear majority with the allegation that the Liberal Democrats were paralysing any progress on getting the UK back on track in these economically turbulent times.

For Lib Dem voters this would have given them no influence at all on policy and voting reform.

3) Take the brave step of acting like grown up politicians and negotiating terms for a coalition that gives Liberal Democrats real influence and gets some of the policies that millions voted for through the next parliament. Plus – Lib Dems get to stop some of the Conservative policies that we most objected to and be a rational influence that stops them lurching to the right.

This new type of politics in which parties actually work with each other for the good of the country is so totally different that it takes time to get your head around it. Why play the old tribal politics game of "rage against your opponent at any cost" when you can collaborate to get things done?

Believe me it is utterly strange to members like myself that have spent 25 years campaigning against the Conservatives – but we have to give this a chance to work in the current economic conditions that we find ourselves in.

Nationally regarded politicians such as Vince Cable and Chris Huhne have had their talent recognised by being given key ministerial posts (rather than minor roles to placate the Lib Dems) and the UK is better for their presence at the heart of government.

I don’t think the public would forgive us if we don’t give our heart and soul into making this work. A new poll in The Sun shows that 60% of people think the coalition is a good thing and Lib Dem national membership has actually risen by several thousand since the formation of the coalition.

The stakes are high indeed, but if this coalition succeeds it could well relegate Labour to the status of an anachronism.

This is no betrayal - please look at a raft of Lib Dem policies on tax, the Green agenda, schools, ID cards and voting reform we got accepted by the Conservatives, before being too harsh with your judgement of what we are trying to do. Most importantly - on 6th May your vote was most certainly NOT wasted.

Nick Love, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate 2010, Wentworth & Dearne