So the dust is finally starting to settle over the political landscape, the post debate froth is slowly dissipating, yet the star of Nick Clegg is at least managing to sustain its altitude in the days following the inaugural leader’s debate. In the midst of all this Liberal Democrat euphoria, the airspace that spans the majority of the European Union has been closed down as a different type of dust settles upon the holiday plans of the masses.
Meanwhile, as Sunday groans and creaks into life, the political pundits and news hawks are reporting with glee as the Conservatives begin patting themselves down, straightening up their old school ties, and sharpening the knives that they have been throwing at the life sized posters of the Liberal Democrat leader, such is their fury at his barefaced cheek in turning up to last Thursday’s debate and actually daring to connect with the electorate in a way that shows the Conservatives and Labour up as the outdated talking shops that they truly are.
Sitting here watching the various interviews with the political commentators and party spokespeople, it makes me wonder just what depths the Conservatives and Labour are prepared to sink to in order to fool the electorate into voting for the status quo.
This morning, we have already heard the Conservatives try to scare you into not giving your vote to the Liberal Democrats. A spokesman claimed that the Liberal Democrats were espousing a policy of amnesty for illegal immigrants. What they do not tell you is that this is a policy that has been put forward by the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson!
So this is a clear example of how you cannot trust anything that the Tories tell you, because they will do anything to ensure that we do not get the real change that this great nation desperately needs, and that will shatter their dreams of getting their grubby hands on power and looking after their friends in big business
We hear them crowing about the fact that the Liberal Democrats are supposedly ‘hell bent’ on assimilating the United Kingdom into a federalist Europe, once again trying to play on people’s fears in order to prevent real change, at your expense. Europe is by no means perfect. It is a collection of different states with different agendas, cultures, and priorities. Alliances rule the roost. Horse trading is the order of the day, it is how laws are made, concessions are won, and European law is shaped. There are many, many things that need to be urgently improved within the framework of the EU for it to be more relevant, more responsive, and to be better serving of our interests as a separate sovereign nation that holds membership of this body.
The fact is that the Liberal Democrats are the only one of the major parties who have stated that they will hold a referendum on whether or not the UK should remain a part of the EU, or whether we should leave. The Conservatives are so bogged down in dogma and ideology that their MEPs are failing to represent the best interests of the British people. Conservative MEPs voted against the EU law that spawned the European Arrest Warrant, and laws that have enabled the police forces of European countries to co-operate in order to trace, arrest and bring to justice major paedophile rackets.
If the Conservative party had their way, these people simply would not have been brought to justice.
In many cities around the UK, companies and public bodies have been able to finance new jobs, new facilities, and new amenities for the benefit of ordinary people, by gaining grants and loans from the European Union. In South Yorkshire for example, station improvements and new stretches of railway line that have improved passenger services have only been made possible by money granted from the EU development funds.
So we have to take a fair and balanced view when it comes to Europe. Good things as well as bad have come from Brussels and Strasbourg.
Let us be frank, many of the things that the EU do are quite frankly ridiculous. It is hard to fully respect any organisation that takes 15 years to define what chocolate is!
But whoever is in government needs to recognise the fact that we are a member of the EU.
We cannot simply pull up the drawbridge and pretend that Europe does not exist. Crime now spans international borders, as do the influences of the major banking organisations that have endangered the major economies of Europe. Industrial policies of multi-national companies cross the jurisdictions of sovereign nations.
So it is in my view essential that we at least play a part in European affairs. It is in our interest to make sure that we have a relationship with the European Union that ensures that we get the best out of membership in the interests of our country and our citizens, and that we co-operate with other EU countries in order to ensure that we are not disadvantaged by their actions, or those of their companies. It simply makes sense.
The key point is though, that whereas the other major parties spout endless hot air about Europe, with the Conservatives so obsessed with dancing around the maypole instead of representing YOUR interests in Europe, the Liberal Democrats are the only major party to pledge to hold a referendum on whether or not the UK should remain as a member of the EU. This would happen in the event that European events would threaten to majorly alter our laws, and is the true HONEST debate that we need to have.
Only the Liberal Democrats have promised to deliver this.
The other parties are readying their attacks in the area of foreign policy, believing that his is a weak area for the Liberal Democrats. Yet the Conservatives and Labour are trying to fool you into believing that the arguments around Afghanistan are based on whether helicopters are painted the right colour, and whether they work properly.
The true debate is centred around the reasons for us being in Afghanistan. The Liberal Democrats were the only major party to oppose the invasion of Iraq, and they are the only party who are prepared to take on the difficult questions raised by our supporting a corrupt and inept Afghani regime.
Our brave men and women who are going into that country to lay their lives down on behalf of the United Kingdom deserve these issues to be examined. It is the least that the major players in our political system can do in return for such brave and dedicated service.
By questioning the validity of the Afghan strategy, you are not failing to support our troops. You are showing them that you care desperately that they are sent to risk life and limb only when necessary, that they’re properly trained, equipped and supported, both before during and after conflict, and that they are not put in harm’s way in the name of a flawed strategy.
Our armed forces also need and deserve to be paid in parity with our Emergency services, who also do a great job. The Liberal Democrats are the only party who are proposing to reform Armed Force’s pay and tackle the questions surrounding Afghani strategy and the war on terror.
So bear in mind when the Labour party and the Conservatives try and stick in the knife in, that they may try and portray Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats as being no substance in terms of policy, but when you examine the true position of their own policies, their smokescreen and abject panic at the surge in the opinion polls in the Liberal Democrats’ failure demonstrate that they are all mouth and no action.
As we go into the second of the leader’s debates, the Conservatives and the Labour Party will certainly be sticking in the knife. But before you allow your perceptions to be changed by the panicking strategists in the Labour and Tory camps, take a long hard look at who is holding the scabbard.