Our endorsement for the UK Local and European elections

On Thursday, June 4th, Britons will go to the polls to choose their representatives for the European Parliament as well as local councilors. In deciding our endorsement, we asked ourselves two main questions: Which party has shown a pragmatic and solutions-oriented approach to governing? And finally, which party has consistently stood up for the principles and values of liberalism? Our answer to both questions was very easy: only the Liberal Democrats.

During the last years, the Liberal Democrats have demonstrated how a pragmatic and problem-solving philosophy can deliver real progress at the most local level. Across Britain, councils under Lib Dem control prove that Liberal Democrats are ready to govern, providing solutions to everyday’s problems and ensuring a high quality of life for citizens and an efficient administration of public resources.

On the issue of Europe, there is only one party in today’s Britain that resists the temptations of populism and demagoguery, and that’s the Liberal Democrats. While Labour has lost any credibility that was left and the Conservatives keep anchored in an isolationist and unrealistic vision of the world, the Liberal Democrats have consistently led on the issue of European integration, explaining why it is essential to have a strong and united Europe to face the economic, environmental and security challenges facing today’s globalized world. The Lib Dems have stood firmly for free trade, globalization, human rights, civil liberties, sustainable growth and international co-operation and have resisted populist and isolationist impulses, even when this was not the popular thing to do. But it was the right thing to do, and the Lib Dems never back down.

Now, what do we think about the other political parties? While we are truly encouraged by the liberal direction the Conservative Party has taken under David Cameron’s leadership –at least in image and rhetoric–, we are certainly disturbed by many illiberal elements still present in the party (after all, it is still a conservative party). Our major concerns have to do with the hard-line immigration rhetoric and policy proposals (although we recognize the Tories’ essential role in defeating Gordon Brown on the Gurkhas’ motion) and their continued opposition to a more open and integrated Europe. While we could support the Tories at the local elections –in fact, they are our second choice–, we cannot endorse their anti-Europe agenda.

On the other hand, there is nothing liberal in today’s Labour Party. What began as a breeze of fresh air in 1997 has turned into one of the most illiberal and authoritarian governments in British history. From the infringement upon civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism to the support for protectionism and fear-mongering, today’s Labour has become the most statist of the main parties. If there is a party (among the three mainstream parties) that really deserves to be defeated on Thrusday, that’s Labour.

Finally, there’s not much to be said about Britain’s fringe parties. From a liberal perspective, it’s not difficult to understand why we consider the UK Independence Party and the British National Party two threats to liberty and tolerance in the United Kingdom. We strongly oppose UKIP’s rampant isolationism. We totally despise BNP’s despicable racism and bigotry. These two parties clearly don’t have a place in today’s society and we hope they perform poorly on Thursday. Regarding the Greens, whereas we support their strong commitment to a sustainable and green world, we don’t agree with their means to get there: more statism and protectionism.  

As Liberals, we believe in a free, fair and open society and world, where everyone is treated equally and where individuals and communities, not a centralized state, make decisions and lead the way to a more prosperous and progressive future. In today’s Britain, only the Liberal Democrats believe that, and that’s why RealLibs.com proudly endorses them for tomorrow’s local and European elections.