Each general election provides a new opportunity for the junior party of British capitalism, the Liberal Democrats, to confuse the electorate with delusional claims. The 2019 general election has so far been no exception. In recent days, the liberal press has parroted the arrogant claims of their leader, Jo Swinson, that she could be the next Prime Minister. Thankfully, this could not be further from the truth. However, Swinson’s proclamations may still do significant damage to the Remain and Labour causes by misleading the electorate.
The Liberal Democrats cannot win this election, and cannot win in the vast majority of seats in which they claim to have a chance. Their strategy isn’t about winning or stopping Brexit but about grabbing as much power as they can and disrupting Labour’s chances of forming a government.
Their misleading bar charts have been exposed on social and news media, where leader Jo Swinson defended their use. Tactical voting website Best for Britain has been criticised for advising voters to back the Lib Dems in marginals where they are the third party. An example of such a seat is Calder Valley, which the Tories won with only 609 more votes than Labour in 2017. The Liberal Democrats achieved more than 24,000 fewer votes than Labour in this seat at the last election. Any suggestion that the Lib Dems can win here is an insult to the intelligence of the electorate. The website also advocates a Lib Dem vote in Labour-held marginal Kensington where the incumbent Labouir MP has a majority of just 20 votes and the Lib Dems trail eleven thousand votes behind. The practical effect of remainers voting Lib Dem in most circumstances is dividing the remain vote and boosting the Tories.
However, even in areas they can win, the Liberal Democrats are not the best choice for remainers. Jo Swinson announced, “If the Liberal Democrats win a majority at the next election, if the party put into government is a stop-Brexit party, then stopping Brexit is exactly what they will get.” That’s one hell of an “if” for a party with only 20 MPs. Whilst they can’t win an election, there is a real danger they would prop up Boris Johnson with another Tory / Lib Dem coalition.
In the last coalition government in which they took part, they refused to implement their manifesto pledge to vote against a rise in tuition fees. In order to pass a 5p plastic bag tax, they were willing to agree to tightening benefit sanctions against disadvantaged claimants. Jo Swinson herself served as a Minister in Cameron’s government, voted for tuition fees, fracking and the Bedroom Tax and against tax increases for the rich.
The Lib Dems are no friend to the working class or internationalists, and their leaders care more about personal power and blocking a Labour government than they ever did about stopping Brexit. Labour is the only party that can deliver a second referendum, save the NHS, scrap tuition fees and take serious action to stop climate change. In this election, there is only one choice for workers: don’t vote Lib Dem and don’t vote tactically, vote Labour!
If you agree with this article join Red Flag, the fighting socialist organisation