I voted Remain. I am passionate about the EU, I work in research and believe me the pain is very real for me, my friends, and my colleagues. The Guardian reported today that Brexit has left voters in my area in 'Lib Dem-Labour Limbo' and aside from the alliterative appeal of the title I suspect it is true. 74% of people in Cambridge voted to Remain, making this city one of the key constituencies where the battle between Labour and the Lib Dems will be fought.
Personally, I will be voting Labour on the 8th June, and here's why.
Theresa May is many things; stupid is not one of them. She knows exactly what she is doing.
We are leaving the EU, as much as I hate that and all the implications of it; economic, social, domestic and international, there is now only one thing that I, as an individual can do about it; I can choose who will be negotiating on our behalf by voting in the upcoming general election.
'But why Labour?! What about voting Lib Dem?' I hear you cry... 'They will stop Brexit! They will hold a second referendum! They will DO SOMETHING! And I as an individual MUST do something because I cannot sit idly by and allow my birthright and that of my children to be stripped from me! I cannot sit idly by while my friends and colleagues are denied residency, have their careers threatened and on top of that their personal safety put at risk!'
I empathise in entirety with that sentiment. But what you may not realise is that our Prime Minister is depending on it for a Tory victory.
The nation is in a state of uncertainty. Many of us are still in a state of shock and disbelief about Brexit. We are a population governed by fear, and fear is fantastic for those in power. Present fear is a greater motivator than future happiness. What Theresa May knows is this; there is one single glaringly obvious issue which has divided the nation. People are passionate about it and if she can harness that energy she can use it to her advantage and gain politically from BOTH sides. The general election is not being talked about in terms of what is best for Britain or for the people who call it home. It is largely being talked about in terms of who can stop Brexit vs who will honour the result of the referendum and guarantee it. Only today Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC pressed Corbyn to guarantee he would definitely take us out of the EU 'come hell or high water' and he refused to do so - emphasising instead that he would be seeking the best possible deal and settling for nothing less.
Our Prime Minister knows full well that significant numbers of people will become swing voters and will base their vote solely on Brexit. Those who voted Leave will likely continue to support the Tories or Labour as they did before. Remember, there are rather a lot of them - they may not have won the referendum by very much, but win it they very much did. Conversely, many Remain voters are traditionally Conservative or Labour voters who are now opting to support the Lib Dems. As such, this election is very much in the hands of the Remainers, and they are being duped into handing May this election.
Why would our charming little Thatcherette want you to vote for the Lib Dems? Surely she wants you to vote Conservative? Why would she call a general election if she might not win?
Simple; The Lib Dems will absolutely not get a majority. What they will do is make it impossible for Labour to defeat the Tories, they have already ruled out a coalition with Labour - but not with the Conservatives, and that speaks volumes. Remember last time? Remember how many people voted Lib Dem because they were 'different' and had all those really tempting policies? Remember how the dog ate their homework and they forgot their p.e kit and had a note from home to say why they didn't actually have to do any of that once they got into parliament? Remember how what the Lib Dems did was enable the Tories to enact policies which were the opposite of what the Lib Dems had themselves promised in their own manifesto?
Do you really think that has changed? Do you really think a party who have shown quite clearly they prefer to be allied with the 'Right' over the 'Left' and who have stated in the past that they based their economic policy on Thatcher's will be good for this country? They are prepared to ally themselves with a Conservative party that is now so far to the Right that even our former Conservative Prime Minister John Major is warning the electorate not to trust them. The Liberal in Lib Dem does not mean socially liberal. They are economically liberal - free market worshippers who espouse the philosophy of competition and survival of the fittest. The Lib Dems are not a credible party in their own right; rather, they act as a catalyst for neo-liberal capitalism by facilitating Tory victories which would otherwise not be possible. We know where it will take us, we've been there before and the yellow colour of this particular road to parliament is more indicative of cowardice than a fun trip to Oz - notwithstanding obvious parallels to be drawn with Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Lion who lack a heart, a brain and courage respectively (IDS, Boris and Gove....? Just saying...). The Lib Dems are not stealing the broom from the wicked witch of the west they are merely borrowing it to do her housework.
Their website proudly states that they are 'fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.' and that they believe in equality of opportunity. Well, I'm calling bullshit on that. If those really are their core values then why not rule out a coalition with the Conservatives whose record on the alleged priorities of the Lib Dems is appalling? Not rocket science is it?
Theresa May knows all this very well, she knows that large numbers of votes for the Lib Dems will mean that Labour cannot win, and that even if her party does not gain a big enough majority to win the general election outright, the Lib Dems (who you voted for to avoid voting Tory and to halt Brexit) will form a coalition with them and keep them in power, thus ensuring a 'hard Brexit'. May also knows that in a contest based purely on recent performance, reputation, and policy, it is far less likely that the Tories could remain in power, which is likely to be why she refuses to join a televised debate with Corbyn. So, she has made the very shrewd decision to act fast and capitalise on the current mood. Do you honestly think that the Lib Dems will be able to stop Brexit if they are in coalition with the Tories? Please.
May has set a trap. The bait is remaining in the EU. If you fall for it and take that bait.... Guess what? BOOM! An undisputable mandate for Brexit and May and all the consequences for our society which that entails. All the suffering we have become accustomed to but without the EU and those pesky human rights to get in the way. Hate zero hours contracts? Imagine how much more fun they will be without workers rights! I for one am really looking forward to the state of our nation with the Tories in charge and no EU protection. History suggests it will be a right barrel of laughs! I love Dickens but his work should be fictional reading material - not a lived experience in 2017.
Brexit is an exceptionally good cover for the Tories' record. It makes a great distraction from food banks, from hospitals so chronically underfunded they are failing and being gradually outsourced to private firms, from the fact that they have done absolutely bugger all to decrease the deficit and that austerity is an ideological choice NOT an economic necessity. It's a great distraction from Tory election fraud, from the high profile Tories who told proven lies to get people to vote Leave, and from the appalling treatment of the sick, the disabled, the elderly and those on low incomes (to name but a few) under this government. As long as people are focussing on Brexit they are not focussing on just how badly the Conservatives have run this country and how much worse off we all are. They are keeping the day to day rhetoric on how much better all our lives would be without those pesky immigrants stealing our jobs/benefits/picnic baskets/whatever....
Labour are not promising to stop Brexit, because they are not offering up the impossible just to win your vote. Nor are they promising it will happen come what may, because, as Corbyn said today, he does not yet know what deal will be offered, so cannot guarantee he would accept it. Who do you really want in power after we leave the EU? Do you want May's Brexit or Corbyn's? The man might be comprised almost entirely of corduroy and compost but I for one would rather have him running this country in a fast approaching cold war than May, who is already cosying up to Trump of all people!! Trump! You know... him off the telly? The man who is possibly the single biggest joke to have ever gone wrong. It's all very funny until somebody loses an eye... or, you know, their liberty.
So please, if you are basing your vote on your preference to leave or remain in the EU, have a little think before you go skipping off down the yellow brick road.Suggest a correction