Newly elected, a young Liberal Democrat leader rises in the polls while making a flagship manifesto promise. No, it’s not Jo Swinson promising to hold a People’s Vote and back Remain, but Nick Clegg promising to oppose any increases in tuition fees. Nine years ago, when the Lib Dems held the balance of power and the choice between a progressive Labour government and or the pro-austerity Tories who have cut local schools to the bone, they chose to back the Tories.
Once in office the Lib Dems didn’t obtain any meaningful power; Clegg chose not to head a department like being Home Secretary but the vanity position of Deputy Prime Minister. Instead of making good on their promises they repeatedly failed the constituents who had trusted them by tripling tuition fees and cutting benefits to those who needed them most in exchange for a tax on plastic bags and a referendum on proportional representation which was doomed to fail.
Although the Lib Dem party might be smaller today – enough MPs to fit into two taxis with the Tories who have joined them–this is still the party which turned their back on progressive Britain in 2010 for an alliance with the very party that started this Brexit mess and has kept us here for three years.
The simple fact is that the Lib Dems have a single promise this coming election – a second referendum on Brexit. Not only is it almost identical to Labour’s policy, minus the commitment to negotiate a softer Brexit, it is also one which any sensible resident will find hard to trust. Given that Jo Swinson was one of the Lib Dem MPs who went back on her personal pledge to triple tuition fees, can you really trust her on this?
There is nothing to reassure anyone in Harrogate & Knaresborough that, yet again, the Liberal Democrats will not go back on their largest promises for a ministerial car and pay rise.
Scratch a Lib Dem, find a Tory. Swinson’s voting record when serving as a minister under David Cameron says it all: for the bedroom tax, for tuition fees, for lower taxes for the 1% and for zero-hour contracts. She also threatened to freeze the minimum wage in 2013, offering “caution” against increases in ordinary worker’s wages while banker’s bonuses increased again and again and again.
The Lib Dems have ‘promised’ not to enter into any coalition with Labour. A Liberal vote is a vote for a minor party who are unwilling to help stop Boris Johnson from pursuing a damaging no-deal Brexit by backing the only alternative PM – Jeremy Corbyn.
Don’t waste your vote this coming election. Cast it for the party who doesn’t go back on their promises, who doesn’t cooperate with the Tories, and who will build a fairer country in the interests of the many, not the few. Cast it for the party promising a response to the climate emergency, investment in the North, and a second referendum to end the Brexit chaos.