Before I start, just a brief disclaimer: the upcoming election is a controversial topic. I have had enough drunken conversations with people in the smoking areas of clubs to know that a lot of people feel passionately about it, and opinions vary. This is only right, and my own desires for the outcome of the election will be kept at arm’s length from this article. That being said, references to Brexit are inevitable.
This week, Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrat party expressed regret about the Liberal Democrats’ role in the 2010 Cameron-Clegg coalition (which promised ‘Freedom, Fairness, Responsibility’- a disappointing swerve into anti-alliteration), admitting that the welfare reforms ‘should never have happened’ and personally ruling out allying themselves with Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Amusingly, three days later, Lib Dem deputy leader Ed Davey said that he wouldn’t rule out working with the Conservatives ‘issue by issue’ for a ‘people’s vote’. There is a sense of history repeating itself.
Surely the public must be sick of civil conflict within political parties after the Brexit shenanigans of the last three years? Not for the Lib Dems, who these days consider themselves a ‘stronger’ party. (another statement from the ever-quotable Willie Rennie). “This is not a two-horse race”, Ed Davey asserted. There is no one more confident in the Lib Dems than the Lib Dems.
It is almost certain that if the Liberal Democrats and Labour formed a coalition they could outnumber the Conservatives in parliament (and why not invite the Greens? And heck, why not invite the SNP, whose media attention in this election has been noticeably weak?). Superficially, this would be in the Lib Dems’ favour; in the face of the tuition fee increase fiasco, they have rebranded themselves as the anti-Brexit party. Their reluctance to ally themselves is understandable, however, considering their considerable losses in the 2015 post-coalition election. But Jo Swinson has made a serious error in not maintaining cordial relations with the Labour party. The media and the public have noticed her lambasting the Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to a far greater extent than Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. The Lib Dems are in severe danger of losing their status as a nice, neutral party. The Labour party are always one step behind the Conservatives in the polls. Boris Johnson is making slightly bizarre economic claims about the NHS, Brexit and housing. On we go.
There is no real political point to this, except, all the parties cannot be and should not be combined right now in any sort of political alliance. The uncertainty surrounding the future of Brexit, alongside the bickering, backstabbing politicians will surely wear down the public’s patience if it hasn’t already. Let’s not get swayed by misinformation and false promises. Let’s not allow the mistakes and regrets of the past to haunt us. Let’s vote wisely.