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The Liberal Democrats Need to Re-Evaluate and Reconnect

May 31, 2015 1:33 AM
By Fiyaz Mughal

The losses that the Liberal Democrats have faced may have been driven by the politics of fear and blame, or they could have been driven by the electorate's long memory on u-turns around policy promises that were made. No-one can deny that a month is a long time in British politics and that policy changes are far more fluid, even on some core issues within political parties. However, the u-turn on tuition fees was remembered by some. It was remembered by a generation of young political activists, by students and some parents and those who fundamentally believe that the two cornerstones of services, health and education, should be free at point of delivery.

The liberal voice is Parliament is an important one. Let us not forget that when the two main parties were cheereleading for war in Iraq in 2003, the Liberal Democrats, under the brilliant leadership of Charles Kennedy, struck the right tone. The Liberal Democrats were right in their caution against the rush to war and in their arguments that only a United Nations resolution, supported by other nations, could mandate action against Iraq. History has proved them right and this is just one reason, why the Liberal Democrats should be and I am sure, will be, a voice for reason in Parliament.

Yet, the leadership of Nick Clegg, has led to this low point. It is easy to blame the former Deputy Prime Minister. I for one, did not agree with some of the positions that he took when in Coalition, but there is one thing that cannot be taken away from him. He was a decent, honest man in the heart of politics, trying to make a change. Whilst he made mistakes, he also held back some of the worst policy excesses from interest groups in the Coalition.

It will take decades for the Liberal Democrats to get back to the 60 or so MP's that the Party had pre-2015. Yet, the Liberal Democrats are the strongest when they have their backs against the wall. This is why, the future for the Liberal Democrats is an exciting one. If nothing else, their activism will influence a new generation at a time when liberalism is needed, in an increasingly divided and polarised world.