Following Sam Gyimah’s claim that the Liberal Democrats are the party of business, writers Faye Navesey and Dominic Lee discuss the steadiness of the party’s political position.
The job of a political party is to set out a clear range of policies that they believe will improve the state of affairs of their country, not to pander to every aspect of the political spectrum, and the Liberal Democrats have proved time and time again to carry vague policy ideas, with an even more vague and questionable intention of carrying them out; and of course, if in doubt they bring up Brexit. However, with urgent issues that need to be dealt with, including poverty, homelessness and climate change, this pandering could be very problematic; vague policy suggestions will not suffice.
To claim to be on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum is unsustainable and unacceptable in this political atmosphere, and simply shows that the Liberal Democrats cannot be trusted. The party seem to be simultaneously defending and rejecting the austerity measures taken by the coalition, something that most people agree were cruel, unjust and fundamentally hurtful to the most vulnerable in society. They claim to be the party of equality yet one of their newly recruited MPs Angela Smith famously used the term ‘funny tinge’ when describing ethnic minorities. Claiming to be a party of moderates is also difficult to believe when their only concrete policy is to simply revoke Article 50 altogether with no referendum, hardly a moderate position, and one that would only deepen the divides in British politics.
their only concrete policy is to revoke Article 50 altogether with no referendum, hardly a moderate position, and one that would only deepen the divides in British politics
It is easy to see why the Liberal Democrats have become so vapid and fluctuating, in acting as a refuge for remain supporting MPs they seem to have forgotten that there is more to politics than Brexit. These MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties may have vastly different ideas about other policies, but in the climate created by the Liberal Democrat leadership, Brexit is all that matters.
in acting as a refuge for remain supporting MPs they seem to have forgotten that there is more to politics than Brexit
The ardent focus that the Lib-dems have placed on Brexit has allowed them to get away with claiming to be a left-wing party for young people concerned about their future, whilst simultaneously claiming to represent the businesses who have helped destroy prospects for these said young people. The danger is that people will fall for the Liberal Democrat facade. Let us not forget their failure to properly address the issues in 2010, claiming to represent students whilst siding with the conservatives against them. With this in mind, what makes anyone think that they are different now?
In the run up to the general election on the 12thDecember, the Liberal Democrat party have come under fire for one main issue, their plan to revoke article 50. However, it is also apparent that some in the general public also accuse them of flip-flopping between left wing and right wing policies. This was only intensified after former Conservative, Sam Gyimah, called the party “the natural party of business”, which was followed up by party leader Jo Swinson at the CBI conference.
Personally, I don’t see this as a flip flop. Remaining within the EU, and more importantly the single market, would play a big factor in business which has become far more difficult since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. Therefore, the party’s claim to being the natural party of business is arguably justifiable. Additionally, if the Lib Dem’s comments at the CBI conference can be interpreted as flip flopping then the same must also be said of the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn argued that business would grow under a Labour government.
These arguments of flip flopping are in my opinions based on the party’s failings in the coalition government, as under Nick Clegg the Lib Dem’s abandoned many of their election promises, including plans to scrap tuition fees. However, if we were to judge every party on their past grievances then no one would be able to vote for anyone, I’m not joking, you’d probably have to vote for the Monster Raving Loonies!
However, if we were to judge every party on their past grievances then no one would be able to vote for anyone
In addition, the Lib Dem’s manifesto sets out a number of social policies which, although not as radical as that of Labour, look to be highly beneficial, including an additional 1p in tax which will reportedly raise around £7.7 billion for the NHS. Additional plans to tax frequent fliers are far from a right wing policy.
It’s probably time for sceptics to start reading manifestos, rather than relying on hearsay
In summary, then I would argue that the Lib Dem’s aren’t flip-flopping between left and right and that the party’s commitment to remaining in the EU arguably does make them the natural party of business. Additionally, while their policies of social reform aren’t as radical as Labour’s, they’re arguably far more realistic and involve fewer magical money trees. It’s probably time for sceptics to start reading manifestos, rather than relying on hearsay.
Last modified: 28th November 2019