I have today received an email from Tim Farron suggesting that I might be interested in joining his party, the Liberal Democrats. What follows is my response…
THE OPEN LETTER
Dear Mr Farron,
I am responding to your email of this lunchtime inviting me to consider joining your party.
While it is true that I voted Liberal Democrat in the 2010 General Election this was for a very specific reason: The Labour Party candidate had made himself impossible to vote for by making as virtually his opening remark of the campaign a comment about Gordon Brown being Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister – which as a candidate standing on behalf of Mr Brown’s party was clearly unacceptable. I did not believe that anyone other than your party’s candidate had a chance of challenging the sitting MP Mr Bellingham (Con), so I voted Liberal Democrat as a desperate tactical measure.
A lot has happened since that General Election, including five years of your party acting as handmaidens to the Tories. In the General Election of earlier this year I was proud to vote for the Labour Party candidate, Jo Rust, and if she is the candidate again in 2020 I will vote for her again. At the same time of the same day I voted for both the Green Party candidates in the local elections.
While I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the Labour Party performance over the Welfare Bill, there has been a new leader elected since then, and I am liking what I see so far. I will refer to two recent happenings here:
On Friday, Mr Corbyn missed a rugby match to which he could have had free tickets because he was busy helping his constituents (a surgery that ended up running for seven hours). As far as I am concerned someone who puts his constituents ahead of a rugby match deserves applause. The second thing I wish to refer to is that Mr Corbyn has now revealed plans to renationalise the railways (these were mentioned in his manifesto in the leadership contest, which I read in detail). I offer you this infographic that I picked up on twitter:
On the question of how credible Mr Corbyn is: I do not think that the leader of a party who crashed from 62 MPs down to 8 or an ex-MP (Sir Vince Cable) are in the strongest position to raise such a question!
There is one other reason you might have thought I would be willing to join your party, which is that one of the many petitions which I have signed happens to have been created by a Liberal Democrat (it was calling for a worldwide ban on FGM). I signed the petition in question because I am in full agreement with its aims, not because of who created it.
To conclude, not only am I not remotely interested in joining your party, I am unable to see any circumstance in which I will ever again vote for them – reputations are hard earned and easily lost.