by Iain Donaldson on 11 January, 2017
Once again in England Labour stands shoulder to shoulder with the Conservatives. It is left to the Liberal Democrats to lead the only real opposition. Labour has joined the Conservatives and UKIP in competing for a diminishing leave vote.
Jeremy Corbyn has now positioned his party to lose seats in 2020. The Lib Dems are positioned to take over as the only viable opposition in England.
The Population of the UK is around 64m of whom 17m voted to leave the EU. That leaves Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP all chasing the same 27% of electorate. Support for Leave is dropping rapidly as people realise there is no plan for Brexit. Britain is leaving the largest trading block in the world to become a 2nd rate economy.
In England the Liberal Democrats alone are appealing to the 25% of electors who voted Remain. The Leave voters were oh the whole older whilst the Remain voters were on the whole younger. By 2020 we will have seen four years of younger voters joining the electoral register at 16 whilst four years of older voters sadly will have left the electoral register.
Many people are (wrongly in my opinion) predicting that UKIP is now a spent force. Lets be clear, even if UKIP did not survive as a political force Labour and Conservative parties are competing for 27% of electors between them. The Liberal Democrats and any allies they may choose to work with represent 25% of the electorate.
Of course people don’t just vote on a single issue. Historically people tended to vote Liberal on human rights issues (ID Cards, Internment without charge, LGBT+ rights etc), Labour on industrial rights issues and Conservative on economic issues. The problem for Labour is that the battle for workers rights will be so much harder when the EU is no longer there to protect them. The problem for the Conservatives is that that the British Economy will be shrink outside the European Union.
The Liberal Democrats have taken a bold and somewhat courageous step in declaring that they will fight the next general election on a platform of keeping Britain in the EU, but this is not the first time that the Liberal Democrats have stood against public opinion and led on an unpopular platform. It was the Liberal Democrats who first proposed equal marriage, it was the Liberal Democrats who first opposed Section 28, it was the Liberal Democrats who opposed internment without charge and it was the Liberal Democrats who first oppose a National ID card. The Liberal Democrats were also the only major party in England to oppose the war in Iraq.
Similarly it was the Liberal Democrats who first proposed moving to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable food supplies, long before it became the norm to do so, and it was the Liberal Democrats who first accepted the science of climate change.
It is now becoming clear to any English patriot that the Liberal Democrats embody those quintessentially egalitarian English values of tolerance, justice and fairness that are the cornerstone of the free and open society that our forefathers fought hard to create.
As I said, English patriotism is not the narrow little Britain mentality promoted by Nigel Farage and Nick Griffin that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have succumbed to, but rather the vision of an outward looking open and tolerant and welcoming England that only the Liberal Democrats now represent.