Why I’m voting Lib Dem in the next election

There’s a general election coming up. It’s a weird one – Brexit seems to be the primary focus for parties – so you may be putting a bit more thought into whose box you tick on the ballot or at least rethinking your usual choice. Considering Lib Dem? Alternatively, considering voting for another party and want to tell me why I’m wrong? Read on – here’s why I’m voting for them.

Brexit aside, the Lib Dems have policies I value. A lot of my mates tell me I’m a centrist because I’m not ‘radical’ enough to take the plunge and commit to the left or the right, but I believe the Lib Dems are a radical party.

They’re largely in favour of decriminalisation (of drugs);  proportional representation – a system which would revolutionise this country’s voting system; and with regard to Brexit, we’ve now seen that they’re radical enough to formally adopt a policy vowing to revoke Article 50. All of these are policies I support.

Now – this last policy is certainly raising a few eyebrows. People are bandying about the word ‘undemocratic’ to describe it, but it’s far from it.

First off, the referendum in itself is hard to describe as democratic. Democracy is a vastly complex subject and is far from a matter of black and white. While the Leave vote did win, what Leave voters wanted is hard to pinpoint. Because ‘Leave the EU’, as we’ve seen played out on telly for the past three years, isn’t as simple as it sounds. Do we leave with a deal? Without a deal? And what does the deal entail? It’s not just ‘likely’ that Leave voters have differing views on what the outcome of leaving should be – it’s certain. 

The same can even be said of Remain voters. Do we remain and keep things exactly the same? Remain but have things change? Remain and join Shengen, for instance? Again, not a matter of black and white.

Beyond Brexit too, it’s arguable that the current ‘first past the post’ voting system is also undemocratic – I certainly think so. It’s why I support PR so much. In the 2015 elections, UKIP got 13% of the vote and one seat. I’m no fan of UKIP, but how can anyone look at a statistic like that and say the current system is democratic?

So to hear people call the Lib Dem policy ‘undemocratic’ is grating, to say the least when there are larger issues pertaining to ‘democracy’ at hand. There are certainly a sizeable number of people who would still like to remain in the EU. Don’t agree? Still think it’s undemocratic? Don’t vote for it. Problem solved.

If you were/are a Remainer and you’re worried about whether the Lib Dems are being democratic or not – don’t fret too much. If you voted to remain but now believe we should leave – fair enough. You’re probably better off voting for another party. But if a part of you still wants to remain, remember that you’re not a traitor to democracy for voting accordingly. 

Everyone’s saying Brexit is such a mess and deciding now to revoke Article 50 would cause more chaos, but let’s be real – it’s not our job to sort it out. That’s a politician’s job. And if Jo Swinson is willing to sort that out, why not? Why not vote for what you actually want? 

I did have to do some soul-searching before coming to my final decision, but ultimately things became crystal clear, and simple too. Vote for what you want. And as a Remainer, I want to vote Lib Dem.

Image: BBC

Serena Smith

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