Just the other day I had a conversation about the LibDems.
“I would vote for the LibDems if only I knew what they stand for.” someone said. A common issue for my party, that people prefer to find their home in a political ideology to the left or to the right rather than accept the uncertainty of a compromise to be found.
Obama also used a great analogy in one of his books: How big the pie is and how we slice it.
That’s how I see it: To have a pre-formed opinion on how to grow and then slice the pie on the basis of ideology rather than realism and present-moment is the problem.
Labour currently shouts in terms of un-compromising drifts to the left, regardless of economic feasability of their demands and ideals.
Conservatives drift to the right, responding to Farage’s cynicism which has disillusioned the common man and has made him self-centred and self-orientated, xenophobe and inwards looking.
I appreciate that maybe the liberal left has pushed the boat out too much with liberal and internationalist ideas, beyond what the British and American societies were ready to adapt to. Maybe we got ahead of the game too much.
This has helped to polarise and increase the divide between them or us, ‘either’ and ‘or’.
What we need now is no more shouting of negatives and ‘either’ and ‘or’ but a return of factual and unemotional debate, a reassuring of the electorate and a press that stops agitating people and inciting hatred. A tall order.
But I have reasons to believe that we will make progress. The LibDems are gaining in by-elections in an unstoppable manner, giving rise to hope that more and more voters are tired of the sensationalism.
We need to remind people of their better selves, of their humanity and reassure them that both can be done: Looking after ourselves AND others. The LibDems seem to be the only party who doesn’t give up on Europe. Maybe the EU needs reform to stay successful, but leaving on the basis of mis-information and protest voting rather than actual understanding of the complexities seems self-harming.
I believe the LibDems suffered for their controversial decision to go into coalition with the Conservatives. I believe they did so in full awareness of the adverse effect on their share of the vote for the good of a country affected by the recession. The rainbow coalition that Brown envisaged was doomed to fail in the light of actual numbers of MP’s for said coalition and likelihood for success. Too many agendas would have clashed and would have led to a new election after small parties try to blackmail the others and hijack the agenda, while the economy would have suffered from this uncertaintity.
I believe the tuition fees were seen as a betrayal, even though, given the situation at the time and what could realistically be done with so many voters having made the Conservatives the largest party, it was the lesser of two evils – the other evil being break-up of the coalistion and more economic problems.
The centre ground isn’t always predictable and comforting, but it is the only way forward.
Think about it.