Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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“I once led a protest against the Lib Dems. Now I’ll be voting for them”

by Ian Shires on 18 May, 2017

There’s a super article in the Independent by Rahul Mansigani. In 2010, he led a protest against the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg over tuition fees. However, he is now a Lib Dem Newbie – because of Brexit:

as Eurosceptic Corbyn obstinately stayed put while his MPs deserted him, and as Theresa May declared that “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” and the Conservatives demanded that companies publish the numbers of “foreigners” they employed, I saw that the only party that would fight for our values and battle against a hard Brexit was the Liberal Democrats. Like thousands of others, I signed up.

He explains why this issue is so crucially important:

Brexit is the defining issue of this election and of our political generation. The way it is conducted will go to the heart of all the issues we protested about in 2010. Back then, the broadest aim of our protests was to give our young people the best chance of success in an open, prosperous, tolerant Britain. We must now support the Liberal Democrats to continue that wider campaign; a Tory Brexit undermines the existence of the Britain we believe in, not to mention the very existence of the UK.

The Lib Dems are and have always been proudly European, and (unlike the policy issue of tuition fees) this is fundamental to the party. Labour, despite its sudden clarity on scrapping tuition fees, remains hopelessly divided on its own vision of Brexit. The Liberal Democrats are the only party left to stand up for the 48 per cent, for the millions of voters, particularly the young, who voted to remain part of Europe, to be free to study in Paris or Berlin, to marry in Rome or Amsterdam and to work in Stockholm or Sofia.

He urges people to forgive the Lib Dems for mistakes like tuition fees:

The Liberal Democrats are the only party that is fighting for an open, tolerant Britain in Europe. Supporting them is the only way to show that we do not want a disastrous, closed, hard Brexit.

If you agree, and haven’t registered to vote yet, you can do so here – but you must do it by the end of next Monday, 22 May.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

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