Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.
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And lo, the battle was joined. Well, not quite – the election date still hasn’t been announced, but the Lib Dems have entered the election fray and joined the party, bringing their own slogan along for laughs:
The Real Opposition
Not the best slogan, I suggest, for a party who claim to have their sights set on Number Ten, but a decent one for a party who think they have a chance of becoming the official opposition. Or, at least, holding the balance of power. But heck, it’s an awful lot better “Britain forward not back” (I still don’t know what that means), and “Less talk, more action” (our problem is that Tony Blair’s gone too far and taken too much action, like invading Iraq).
But there’s nothing in his speech that I can disagree with. I’m not a massive fan of his tax policies, but at least he’s honest about raising the top rate, and at least he has rational, good reasons for doing so.
The problem with the Liberal Democrats is that their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness:
For us politics isn’t about gimmicky pledge cards with vacuous statements. It’s about real solutions to real problems. It’s about being straightforward about how you will deliver. And it’s about being straightforward also about how much it will all cost.
In this world of instant news, people need hooks and quick, meaningless soundbites, slogans, and pledges. That’s the nature of the country we live in. Politics should be about much more, but people aren’t interested enough to sit and listen to a reasoned argument – they want to be drip-fed what they want to hear. But once a party starts to subscribe to this form of argument, they lose all credibility.
The Lib Dems are still looking like the party I’m most likely to vote for, not least because we have similar opinions, but also because the other two main parties are just unsupportable in my view: Labour, because they are dishonest and spin to the point of lying in order to massage their egos, and The Conservatives because I can’t support their dispicable asylum policies, which border on racist.
I don’t think the Lib Dems have a hope of winning the next election, but that shouldn’t stop anybody voting for them. The bigger their majority, the louder their voice of reason. And if there’s one thing we need in the House of Commons, its more reasonable, moral people.