A Spring in Your Step Today? Enjoy it With Pride
If you’re a Lib Dem supporter, voter or member you may be forgiven for having a little spring in your step today. Perhaps it’s the news that Nick Clegg has kept his nerve and focus and gained a well-deserved Deputy Prime Minister position as a result. It could be the additional 4 cabinet posts on top of that (Vince Cable – Business & Banking, Chris Huhne – Energy & Climate Change both suggested so far). Maybe it’s the thought of the Lib Dem policies that thankfully, under this coalition, will see the light of day. Maybe it’s just the feeling that something remarkable is happening.
This is also a good day if you’re a Conservative voter. This might not have been your preferred option but it sees Cameron in power, with – hopefully – a strong team behind him and an amalgamation of policies that, it’s hoped, will be in the national interest. If you’re Labour (or even a Lib Dem voter who stood against the Lib-Con coalition), keep these things in mind: this is still progress and if you were vehemently opposed to a Conservative government, this is surely a more preferable scenario?
Some have called Lib Dem voters naive or weak or even selfish for voting for their preferred party. I will only say on this matter that we live in a democracy and have a right to vote for who we believe in. We should not be expected to vote tactically or pretend our preferred party doesn’t exist. For me, a Lib-Lab coalition or a Lib-Con coalition were both better options than just Labour or Conservative alone. That’s how democracy works: we voted, things changed as a result, some were happy, some were not.
As an unrepentent Liberal Democrat voter and recently joined member, I have been honest that Lib-Lab was my preferred choice. Whilst I worried it may be a weaker option, I felt there was more common ground and – if I’m open about it – less controversy to manage. However, I’ve also said that I believed in Clegg and the Liberal Democrats to make the decision that was in the best interests of both the party and the country. As more and more details of the deal are confirmed, I feel positive about the future of the UK. I still can’t see Cameron as the bright, young leader many envisage him to be but I do (grudgingly) accept the remarkable lengths he has gone to in order to produce a workable deal. Watching him greet Clegg at the door of No 10 is not something I will forget for a very long time.
I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the look on my husband’s face when I said: “Guess who the Deputy Prime Minister is?” and realisation dawned for him that I actually meant Nick Clegg. I hope I won’t forget – or rue – the hope I feel today. I’m sure I’ll try to hold on to this feeling of pride for a long time.
If you have a spring in your step today, for whatever reason, good for you. We’ve just learned that we do live in a world where a vote can make a difference.