Anti-Politics and the Naughty Step

Dear Tory and Labour politicians,

Over the past few weeks, you’ve been a little bit shocked in the rise in popularity of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. Clearly you feel threatened since the Torys briefed the Murdoch papers on smearing the Lib Dems (which backfired) and Labour clearly have it in their mind that a Lib Dem vote is a protest vote (I’m looking at you Mr Milliband). For a long time power has bounced between red and blue, changing sides like a game of cricket. A major influence in this has been the media who tended to pick the winner and then smear all other opponents; but its not worked this time. Often discussion has been how it is the turn of “the other side”.

A Lib Dem vote is not a protest vote, we are not voting against something – we are voting for something. A Lib Dem vote is not a wasted vote, enough people vote and constituencies change – even “safe” ones. We are not the naughty children, nor are we “anti-politics”; in fact – this campaign has been the most attentive, pro-politics we’ve seen, with leaders debates on TV and open discussion on free new media. We are the people who didn’t really have a say, since we are not in traditional occupations to influence voters. Scientists, engineers, geeks, bloggers and more, we’ve always been here and been a significant number of people, but we are no longer the group of people who just keep quiet and accept the given situation.

We want change. We want our politics to keep up with the changing pace of technology. We want our freedom of speech, we want to be who we are (goth, gay, punk – whatever), and we want our vote to matter. We think the idea of a hung parliament is possibly a good thing, since it means MPs will have to work to pass their policies, and we are intelligent enough to see the potential impact it may have (economic and otherwise). We want open debate every year, not just every five years. We are intelligent and educated – not by Eton or Westminster, but a lot of us are educated to at least the same level as you – smear and fear campaigns just irritate us. We want electoral reform so that we know every vote really does count in the most important way possible. In many ways we don’t care what colour your policies are, just that they work for us. Tom Watson, despite being Labour, became a hero to many during the recent DEB farce.

There’s a couple of weeks left to this campaign. Your traditional tactics have failed to work. What can you do to rescue yourselves in our eyes in this campaign?

1) Engage in honest debate on policies. Stop the fear mongering – its just getting ripped apart and parodied online (and the beeb are going a good job on picking it up as well). 2) Talk about your own policies. It’s almost shocking how much time is being spent talking down the policies of other parties rather than talking up the policies of your own. Tell us why we should vote for you, not why we shouldn’t vote for the other parties. 2) Talk to the people you want to represent – a good proportionate sample of them. Get out of your comfort zone and see what the entire field is like. 3) Accept this is a three way race. Stop trying to marginalise the third party – its not working. The numbers are indeed nuts. So start fighting for those voters.

That’s it! Fight an honest fight and we will respect you for it. And an MP without respect might as well have a duck-house.

Yours,

A Voter