Until just a couple of weeks ago, Stewart Wilson used to be an activist and a keen supporter of the Liberal Democrats – when suddenly he decided to leave the party and join the Scottish National Party. I asked Stewart why he decided to abandon the Lib Dems and join the SNP. Here is his reply – which I think gives a very telling insight into the present state of the Lib Dems – and I post it without further comment:
Stewart: I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010. With the economy in such a bad way, and myself reflecting on what sort of future my wife and kids were going to have, I decided that Nick Clegg and his party offered the most hope. He also represented the best chance of getting rid of the destructive, divisive two party system that Britain had been strangled by – The Duopoly – for the last sixty years.
It seemed so straightforward at the time. Labour had been seriously discredited. The Tories carried a very toxic reputation, but had some sort of discipline and credibility, so surely the best form of Government to have would be a Tory/Lib Dem Coalition where the latter neutralised the former as much as possible, creating compromise consensus politics.
I was very wrong.
I simply underestimated the power of the vested interests that challenging The Duopoly provokes. The media – along with The Tories and Labour and many other hidden forces – connived together to make the Liberal Democrats’ existence in government a nightmare.
Futility was such, I began to feel that for all the commitment I was putting into the Lib Dems, it was all going to be for nothing.
But I’m not going to rip the Lib Dems apart. The party is full of very decent, intelligent people. They simply aren’t allowed to flourish in this country which is so switched off to the idea of Coalition. It’s because of this and the vicious defending of the two-party system by the vested interests that the Lib Dems have suffered…..not because of any serious deficiencies within the party.
I don’t regret my time with the Lib Dems one bit. It has actually helped me understand the Scottish Independence issue very well. The concern about vested interests exists for the SNP just as it does for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats – its the same – upsetting the political dyed-in-the-wool status quo. But instead of the two party Duopoly issue, its the breaking up of the United Kingdom issue.
I personally don’t see a great future for the Liberal Democrats. Clegg is unpopular, the party is unpopular and the general awareness of their achievements (impressive Lib Dem policies or blocking of Tory policies) remains stifled by vested interests – or just plain apathy.
Please feel free to comment.