Well, we are less than 24 hours from the start of polling in one of the closely contested General Elections in history, never mind recent memory.
The three main parties, and indeed the plethora of minor parties and independent candidates have all been busily campaigning and vying for the support of the ultimate kingmakers, the great British electorate.
The massed media have also been busy. They have been busy studying the proposed policies of the main parties, distorting and championing various policies, and distorting and rubbishing policies that they don’t like, or indeed that they feel could damage the chances of their own preferred candidates.
There has been a clear and concerted effort to twist and smear the policies of the Liberal Democrats ever since Nick Clegg invigorated the election campaign with his initial performance in the first leader’s debate. The fear among the establishment has been palpable. They are terrified at the thought of the British electorate actually being able to vote in a way that results in their views, hopes and aspirations actually being represented in parliament.
The current electoral system simply does not represent the hopes and values of the people who vote.
Only a Liberal Democrat influenced parliament can change this.
This is the reason why the usual gutter press snipers, and hysterical right wing news outlets have been hell bent on smearing Nick Clegg, and grossly misrepresenting the policies of the Liberal Democrats.
So before you go and cast your vote tomorrow, and I truly and passionately hope that you will, please take a few minutes to read through this blog, where I have set out a number of misrepresentations, half truths, and downright lies that have been published by the media outlets and newspapers who are determined to prevent you from being fairly and accurately represented in our parliament.
1. The Liberal Democrats are planning to release all prisoners who are sentenced to a jail term of less than 6 months.
This is simply not true.
The party have done extensive work, consulting professionals who work with young and repeat offenders on a daily basis, and as a result of this policy of INCLUDING those who deliver these very demanding and essential public services, the Liberal Democrats advocate a regime of sentencing whereby people who would otherwise have been jailed for 6 months or less are instead sentenced to community and restorative service that have been PROVEN BY EXPERIENCE to yield greater results in terms of positive impact on both wider society and indeed offenders.
These types of sentences are not only more effective, they are far less expensive than the custodial alternative. It is also true to say that many of these jails have ended up being nothing more than crime colleges, and it does not make sense to expose young and impressionable people to such pressures simply to please the headline writers of The Sun etc, when we can turn them around and stop more of them re-offending by making them pay back their debt to society, in the society that they have offended against.
To clarify, there are no plans to release those with short term sentences who have already been imprisoned. This is nothing short of a lie that has been peddled by the Tories, Labour, their press playmates, and their tired and scared party apparatchiks.
2. The Liberal Democrats are planning on granting an amnesty for asylum seekers.
Again, simply not true. The party have identified the fact that there are thousands of people who are living in the UK illegally, and this is the fault of both the Tories, and the current Labour government, who have failed spectacularly to build a working immigration and border control system.
In order to confront and sort out this unmitigated disaster, the Liberal Democrats have said that they would advocate the policy of a ‘one off offer’ whereby people who can PROVE that they have been in the country for at least 10 years, who have learnt English, and who have not committed any criminal offence would be allowed the right to undertake a 2 year probation period that would allow them to work, pay tax and contribute to our society, and to the funding of the public services that they have hitherto been using without paying anything towards.
Any illegal immigrants who are unsuccessful in their application would be removed from the country. It is as simple as that.
What the media don’t want to tell you is that the real amnesty has been going on under Labour and the Tories for years, because of the fact that they have been so incompetent in their running of the immigration system that they have simply turned a blind eye to these people who place massive burdens on our public services. There is a little known convention called the ’14 year rule’ whereby people are not removed if they have been here for 14 years, and this policy has been pursued by both the CURRENT and PREVIOUS governments.
So to clarify, the only person advocating an amnesty is the CONSERVATIVE Mayor of London, Boris Johnson!
The Liberal Democrat proposals are part of a comprehensive approach to the strengthening and overhaul of the services that administer and protect our borders. This proposal encourages illegal immigrants to come forward, rewards those who have learnt the language, not committed criminal offences other than entering the country illegally and who can PROVE this, and provides a chance to arrest and remove those who do not meet the terms of this offer.
We do not know how many of these people there are, nor do we know where they are. This is one way in which we can at least start to sort out the mess that is immigration, and bring an end to the constant insulting of the British people’s intelligence by Conservative and Labour politicians, whose only response to this very important issue has been to shrug their shoulders, wring their hands, and bludgeon detractors with charges of racism for daring to raise it.
The Liberal Democrats are the ONLY party to actively try and come up with robust and workable solutions to actually tackle and address the ‘elephant in the room’ that is the burden on public services caused by those who remain in the United Kingdom without the right to do so.
So PLEASE DO NOT listen to the ramblings and wailings of the right wing press. They WANT the status quo to remain. It is in the interests of their multi millionaire owners to ensure that the same old political parties remain in the position of influence.
They will carry on lying to you if that means that real change is avoided. Do not be taken in by their lies.
3. The Liberal Democrats are planning to get rid of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.
This is an unholy deception. At no point have the Liberal Democrats said that they would dismantle the nuclear defence that we have.
The party’s position is very clear. Both Labour, and the Conservatives are committed to spending millions of pounds of taxpayer money on renewing the existing system which was designed to combat the equivalent deterrents in communist Russia with the Trident project.
The Liberal Democrats say that this is ludicrous.
The party is committed to making sure that the whole Trident project is included within a strategic defence review which will be taking place in the early days of the next parliament. This will involve an in depth analysis of the project, BY THE EXPERTS, in order to ensure that it would best serve the defence of this country, should it go ahead.
For the record, this is a position backed by four of Britain’s most senior Army Generals.
The party are committed to the maintenance of our nuclear deterrent, whilst engaging with other governments around the globe to gradually reduce the international nuclear stocks of warheads in co-operation on the global stage. This is another reason why we need to ensure that we can negotiate and deal with other governments within Europe and elsewhere by adopting an internationalist approach.
So to clarify, the Liberal Democrats do NOT plan to de-commission the nuclear deterrent. They are, unlike the Tories and Labour, committed to ensure that we make the best decisions regarding the future of our defence, where possible diverting resources away from irrelevant and costly defence projects and into the provision of equipment and resources for our brave troops that is fit for purpose.
4. The Liberal Democrats want to force the United Kingdom to enter the Euro.
This is not, and never has been the case.
The party have always been clear in that they do believe that, should the economic conditions be right, Britain would be best served by being part of the single currency.
Nobody in their right mind would say that we have had conditions that are anywhere near those which would be good for joining the Euro.
The Liberal Democrats have no intention of approaching the subject of joining the single currency at any time in the near future.
It would not make any form of financial sense to expose the UK to the pressures and constraints of the euro zone as it stands, and the party recognise this.
So to clarify, a vote for the liberal Democrats will NOT result in automatic entry into the Euro. The party would only advocate membership if it were to be independently verified to be in the country’s best interest to join.
In any case, Britain would NEVER join the Euro under a Liberal Democrat government WITHOUT A REFERENDUM for the British people.
The Liberal Democrats are the ONLY party to promise this.
5.The Liberal Democrats have promised tax cuts that would put the economy at risk
They have not.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to reform the taxation system in order to reflect a greater level of fairness that is still lacking in the tax system after 13 years of a failed Labour government.
The party have calculated that by reforming the tax laws so that nobody in the country pays a single penny of income tax on any earnings up to £10,000, they can give back to hard pressed taxpayers £700 on average, helping to lift the poorest paid workers out of the poverty that currently exists within the lowest earners.
It is nothing short of a travesty that there are bankers in the city are paying less tax on their capital earnings than their cleaners are on their wages.
This country needs real and true tax reform, and the Liberal Democrats are the only party to promise to deliver this.
All of the proposals are fully funded and planned, and will not interfere with our ability to reign in the defecit, other than to improve the ability of Britain’s lowest paid to help stimulate the economy by being able to spend more of their hard earned wage.
So, to clarify, there are no Liberal Democrat tax proposals that are unfunded, unplanned, uninvestigated or ill thought out. These proposals are designed to make the tax system fairer and put £700 back into the pocket of every worker in the UK.
I hope that these examples of mistruth on the part of the other parties and the massed media have shown just how distorted the view of Liberal Democrat policies have been.
So please, do yourself a big favour, and FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF the truth about Liberal Democrat policies, consider them, and if they compare with your vision, and what you want for a fairer, more progressive Britain, use your vote, and Vote Liberal Democrat.