The Liberal Democrat Problem.

[Another one of the entries for the Politics Prize 2013 within College]:

There is a better way of doing things if only you bother to look for it” according to Nick Clegg, a theme which he believes stands at the heart of the Liberal Democrat party. Liberal Democrats are about freedom; they believe that “power belongs, first and foremost, with the people” and that in the idea that we deserve to be able to use our civil liberties as much as possibly, granted that we do not infringe on others. The 2010 election saw a surge in support for the Liberal Democrats with ‘Cleggmania’ gripping the nation, mainly thanks to the televised debates. Before this election the Liberal Democrats struggled on the fringes of the politics, a third party in a two party system. A joke. The Liberal Democrats promised so much but they broke those promises, in so many different ways.

There is no doubt that the Liberal Democrats had some success in 2010. Before this election the last Liberal Democrat Prime Minister was David Lloyd George and even he headed a Conservative-dominated coalition government. He stepped down in 1922 – nearly a hundred years ago, not exactly the political standing of a key political party. The Liberal Democrat party as we know it today was formed in 1987 when it the Liberal Party and the Social Democrat party merged. Key events such as the Iraq War helped to boost support for the parties, as those opposed to it turned away from the Labour Party following Tony Blair’s decision to intervene in the conflict. Perhaps one of the biggest contributors to the success of the Liberal Democrat party in the 2010 elections was as a result of the TV debates and of Cleggmania. While Brown and Cameron bickered across each other, Nick Clegg was able to step in with clear concise points. According to The Guardian he ‘stole the first televised leader’s debate’ by presenting himself as a “fresh and honest alternative”. Perhaps one of the biggest successes of Clegg in this election is that he led to the questioning of Britain’s two-party system, even if the result of the election was a coalition government.

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The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker, Part Two.

A continuation of the last post on the blog, click here to read the first part!

Lisa: A lot of the students we asked today said they didn’t know your vote on gay marriage.
Ellie: Yes, they asked ‘ask him why he said yes’, ‘ask him why he said no’. How did you vote?
I felt I couldn’t support the legislation as it was for a very simple reason, which is we’re signatories to the European Court of Human Rights, and my read of the legislation says it would make it more likely for a successful challenge for religious institutions being forced to marry. Any individuals could go through. I went from the starting point of, why would you not want to extend rights to every group? And I come to the position that is; it would be ironic that you would abridge the rights of religious institutions and individuals to extend them in another group. That’s a very difficult thing to square off. So I took the view that to not vote for the legislation was the right way through. That’s a bit of a nightmare because obviously it frustrates everyone. The hundreds of people that got in touch with me and said I want you to vote against this legislation. The handful- honestly the handful- who got in touch with me and said I want to vote for it. And ultimately this is politics right? You don’t do what is always popular, you do what you think is right in that situation. I appreciate it isn’t the right situation and it looks like you’re sitting on the fence. But for me, the right decision I felt to make was to say I’ll start from the position that if I can vote for this I will and I feel like I can’t, so I’m abstaining on the legislation. It’ll go through with a massive majority, go through to the Lords and probably get picked apart but it will be passed into legislation.

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The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker

Q:How did you become an MP after studying for your degree at Cambridge?
Oh my goodness, so let’s go back to when I was your age, so, grew up in Luton and went to school here – Icknield – and went to Sixth form, studied Politics and thought it was quite interesting and really enjoyed it at A-Level. I thought I’d go on to study it at degree, not because I wanted to become a politician actually, which I know sounds strange, but genuinely I really enjoyed it and through a weird twist of nature I managed to get a place in Cambridge. I think if I were to apply now I don’t think I would get in, it is so much harder for you guys.

Aysegul: Yeah, these two are Oxbridge rejects.
Oh wow, well if it’s any consolation, I wouldn’t now either. Do you know where you want to go?
Ellie: Well I’m planning to go to Kings in London.
Lisa: York.
Aysegul: Warwick.
I applied to Warwick as well – didn’t get in but yes, sorry I need to answer the questions don’t I? – I moved to Cambridge and worked for a local church for three years and then moved back here in 2006. When I moved back lots of my friends went off to be consultants and bankers and work in big business. That’s a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to move back to Luton and I think one of the biggest problems we have is a lot of our talented people move away and we never seem them again and I would like to see more people come back here. I moved back here, I worked for a local church and joined the Labour party on the same day I moved back.

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