The Liberal Democrats are learning from past mistakes under Tim Farron, and have the chance to capitalise greatly on the upcoming election. Daniel Stevens outlines some of the reasons the Lib Dems could see great success in this upcoming general election.
It Is Predicted to be a Blowout
Pollsters currently have the Conservatives at record level of numbers over the Labour party, and most pundits think this election is already over in terms of who will win. This opens the door to voters to vote for the party they believe in, and not tactically. A lot of voters won’t vote for the Lib Dems as they ‘have no chance of winning’, but if the election is already over, they will vote for whichever party they most align with.
Labour is a Mess
Jeremy Corbyn is unbelievably unpopular amongst voters. According to YouGov, just 24 percent of voters are satisfied with Corbyn’s performance, while 53% are satisfied with Theresa May’s. A large proportion of the country support either remaining in the EU or a soft Brexit, and are clamouring for a voice and opposition toward a hard Brexit. The Liberal Democrat marketing machine is already working on capitalising on Labour’s weakness, and presenting themselves as the new party of opposition.
They Have Ruled Out Coalition
Farron has stated they ‘won’t do a deal with anybody’, a politically wise move following the Lib Dems’ last stint in government, which saw them lose the student vote in particular as they allowed a rise in tuition fees. However, with this being the ‘Brexit election’, Farron is appealing to two large groups, Remain voting Conservatives disenfranchised with May’s tough talking Brexit approach, and remain supporting Labour voters dismayed at how little Corbyn has done to oppose the hard Brexit many believe May is leading the country toward. By ruling out coalition, these two groups can vote Lib Dem confident that they aren’t voting for a Lab-Lib coalition or Con-Lib coalition.
48% of the Voting Public Voted Remain
Yet the Conservatives and Labour seem to have forgotten that, and are now engaging in a “who is tougher in negotiations?” debate, with Corbyn doing his best Ed Miliband impression “am I tough enus? Hell yes I’m tough enough!”. And of course no group voted remain more than young people and students, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime for the Lib Dems to make right the wrongs of the past, and get the student vote back on side.
Thanks to the EU referendum, the Lib Dems now have a clear map showing where they can target. The sweet spot where areas were strong for remain, yet are not Labour strongholds, can be targeted and stolen by a tenacious Liberal Democrat party.
Young People are Progressive
And so are the Liberal Democrats. On the environment, social issues, immigration, and civil liberties, the LibDems always fall on the side of progressive policy. It is in this area that Tim Farron must be careful, in recent comments in which he attempted to say his strong Christian beliefs did not impact his views on homosexuality, Farron said “we all sin”. Though his sentiment may not have been as such, this came across that he was still categorising homosexuality as somehow wrong. Farron has to be careful not to disenfranchise potential voters by coming across as a regressive Christian with primitive views on sexuality, however since then Farron has said “that was wrong, being gay and gay sex is not a sin”. Hopefully that is a lesson learnt for the leader.
So there you have it, that’s why I think the Lib Dems could, and should do well in this upcoming election. Though they likely won’t sweep to power, they could set up a situation where long-term success could be theirs, and they could replace a confused and weak opposition to the government with strong; sensible; liberal; and progressive values.