The European elections may still be two weeks away but my ballot paper is completed and posted already. And, quelle surprise you might think, as paid up member of the Lib Dems I placed my cross loyally in the box next to our candidates. But why?
The 2004 European election was the first time I had a chance to vote, and despite helping leaflet and door knock for the Lib Dems I placed my mark in the Green Party box (hopes no one from the party back home reads this!). Why? Because I had seen Dr. Caroline Lucas (who was MEP and head of the Green Party list) speak a couple of times before and had found her to be intelligent and persuasive, and her parties policies are hardly a million miles away from my own beliefs. This time I am now in the London region and completely without any information on any of the candidates beyond their names and party positions. Logically I just had to vote for the party that I felt would represent us best in Europe. And thankfully it was easy!
The Liberal Democrats are a pro European party. Personally I think Britain's future lies with Europe. Many seem to think that we are better off with America, but history and current events prove the Americans are 1) not as politically close to us as our European friends and 2) not interested! But the Lib Dems aren't blind to the faults of our current European Union. They want to reform it, make it more democratic, less centralised and more financially prudent. And the Liberal Democrats fully support a referendum on Britain's continued membership of the EU. So really they are a bit like me... they are optimistically pro Europe, hoping that the EU can be made better for the benefit of all Europe (which includes our benefit for the selfish folks out there!).
So there's my main reason for voting for them, given this is for our European representation. But also, domestically, I think they have the best policies on a whole range of subjects.
The Liberal Democrats are very much in favour of protecting and restoring our civil liberties. They are very much in favour of democratic reform (hello Proportional Representation!). One Lib Dem MP has been doggedly pursuing the matter of MPs expenses and freedom of information long before it became popular (hello Norman Baker) and have been a little less blatant with their expenses than other MPs (hello Sinn Fein!!!!). Nick Clegg has been trying to see beyond the current crisis and is very much pushing for change in the Parliament.
And best of all, the Lib Dems are not a "nasty party". On a local level things can be a bit different (until a 2003 "revolution" back home our Lib Dem local administration was somewhat insane), but nationally the party and it's policies portray optimism, hope, and a positivity that has been sadly lacking in politics.
You might not think these cogent arguments, or agree with me at all, but that is why I cast my vote for the Lib Dems. Because I think they offer the best hope of a happier, brighter future.
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