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Lib Dems “a vital option for the electorate” – Independent

February 20, 2015 3:18 AM
By Caroline Lindsay in Lib Dem Voice

An editorial in last weeks Independent (Friday 13th February 2014)will give both heart and motivation to Liberal Democrat troops heading out on to the doorsteps this weekend.

Its acceptance that our fate is sealed for this election will irritate those teams of canvassers in our key seats who are finding a good response on the doorsteps. Those of us who have been around for a while will know that our demise has been predicted at virtually every election.

They demolish Jeremy Browne's theory that we need to position ourselves on the centre right, highlighting the unprecedented successes of Charles Kennedy's time as leader.

They identify a clear space for us though as politics becomes increasingly polarised with Labour fighting the Greens on the left and the Tories fighting UKIP on the right:

"But now the Conservatives have the looming threat of Ukip to their right, while the Green Party is rising rapidly to Labour's left. These factors are pulling both parties away from the centre ground.

This should not be seen as necessarily a bad thing, because it gives the voters a real choice, provided neither party drifts so far away from the mainstream as to be no choice at all, as Labour did under Michael Foot. It also opens a clear space for the Lib Dems, in the centre between the main parties, exactly where Mr Clegg and Danny Alexander are now trying to locate it. It is too late now to prevent the party taking a big hit in May, but if they hold their nerve, there is a promising future ahead."

There is and always has been a place for us as a serious party which stands up against untrammelled power in all its forms and protects people from the excesses of both the state and commercial organisations, fighting for individual freedom and the right to live our lives without excessive state interference. There's room for a party that wants to break down the barriers that people face in their lives, a party that will find ways of giving opportunities to people so that their future is defined by their abilities and efforts, not their backgrounds. If we aren't around to take up the liberal cause, nobody else will.

A Parliament without us there in force is not something I want to contemplate because I would fear for our human rights and civil liberties which, once lost, would be both missed and difficult to retrieve. Both Labour and the Tories, governing alone, would threaten our freedoms in different ways. I've always said that I don't want people to learn how much we brought to this Coalition the hard way, during a time of Tory majority government.