Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
58 views
58 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
70 views
70 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
62 views
62 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
93 views
93 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
40 views
40 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018
217 Views

Are the Liberal Democrats dead in the water?

I registered my support for a political party for the first time just months after my sixteenth birthday, and I still remember it as though it was yesterday.  Just a handful of two years’ worth of politics classes had afforded me a basic insight into Britain’s political setup, and I wasted no time in digging deep for a mere fiver, in return for which I received a flimsy membership card affirming that my beliefs were tinged yellow.  Yes, I was a young Liberal Democrat, and, for what it’s worth, it felt great.

And why wouldn’t it?  The way I saw it, the Liberal Democrats were the fairer option, scouring both socialism and capitalism for the advantages which would assist society as a whole.  If only more people would vote Lib Dem, I often despaired.  If only more people would wake up to the idea of three-party politics; accept that Charles Kennedy and his ilk are a feasible option; and understand that their reputation for flip-flopping on the most salient of issues is nothing but media spin.

Perhaps that’s why I renewed my membership on more than one occasion, and why I voted intently for the party at every opportunity I had.  Call me naïve, but I’m not ashamed of it: I had my hopes for the country and they had theirs, and it just so happened that they were neatly aligned.  It might not have been the most sophisticated way to mark a ballot paper, but it was honest, and that was good enough for me.

So, it’s not terribly difficult to predict which standpoint I backed during this year’s election campaign.  And what a campaign it was, too: not only did it mark the advent of the long-awaited prime ministerial debates, but it also left reporters and analysts speechless as the Liberal Democrats surpassed both of their political rivals in the opinion polls.  The critics, of course, dismissed the newfound hysteria as nothing more than a senseless effort to reinvent the humble general election as something of a lowbrow popularity contest, but I was quietly confident.  This is our time, I thought.  This is the moment we’ve been waiting for!

As it turns out, it really was – only, it wasn’t quite as I’d imagined.  Don’t get me wrong: I was never gullible enough to expect the Lib Dems to fall prey to a miracle and ride into Downing Street on the wave of a landslide victory.  I knew the best we could hope for was a hung parliament, and that’s what we got.  But was it unrealistically optimistic to expect the party, this time fronted by Nick Clegg, to honour their pledges and stick to their principles?

The Liberal Democrats have long prided themselves on offering the electorate a viable alternative to the wearied policies of Labour and the Conservatives, and their approach to this year’s election campaign was no different.  A replacement for Trident is nothing but a nod to the days of Cold War mentality, they derided; the decision to go to war in Iraq had been immoral, not to mention fruitless; calls for a cap on immigration are simplistic and negative; and the electoral system as it stands is undemocratic and unreasonable.  As for education – well, they showed no signs of deviating from their long-term vision to make higher education free for all; even unveiling a six-point timetable which aspired to eventually scrap tuition fees altogether.

These are the very principles which attracted me to the Liberal Democrats in the first place, and I’m not unwilling to admit it.  Do we really want – or even need – to fund an effort to become a grossly paranoid neo-conservative state, creating and subsequently battling with perceived enemies?  Do we really have to waste time and resources on an immigration cap which seeks only to pander to the vulnerabilities of those blissfully unaware that the vast majority of immigration derives from the European Union anyway, and is therefore immune from any sort of plug?  There can be no doubt that the simple plurality system under which general elections are currently held is a ridiculously unjust means of gauging public opinion, and the argument that it produces supposedly strong governments has surely been rendered useless by the neither-here-nor-there result at the election this year.

When it comes to higher education, I’ve always believed that – given that British industry has long since collapsed – the government should prioritise and invest in the future of one of the only exports the country has left: fine university graduates.  We academics are this country’s future doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, scientists, journalists, researchers and inventors: if we’re not good for tomorrow’s economy, what is?

Still, while it’s all well and good playing a game of snap in key areas of public policy, it wouldn’t hurt to remember that all that begins well doesn’t always end well.  It’s a notion I’ve had six months to get my head around, given that it was that long ago that Nick Clegg accepted David Cameron’s offer of a coalition, effectively giving the Conservatives a leg up to sneak in through the back door (and, naturally, dismaying members of the Liberal Democrats up and down the country).

But could it be forgiven?  At first, maybe.  The fact is, as enchanting as their ambitions had been, the Lib Dems – contrary to what the initial polls would have had you imagine – suffered an unenviable election result even by their standards, and subsequently found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place as they were ushered into talks with negotiation teams from both of the leading parties.

Admittedly,  I may have slightly jumped the gun by conjuring up fluffy images of Clegg and Gordon Brown’s eventual successor skipping into Number 10 arm in arm, but it was never to be.  Never mind the fact that a Lib-Lab coalition would fall short of a clear majority; the Labour party, apparently, decided it would be more profitable to lay low and re-emerge as a progressive opposition.  With that, the Liberal Democrats’ fate was sealed: they would join the Conservatives to form a new government.

And why begrudge them that?  I’m no fan of the Conservatives, but with a Liberal backbone, I doubted the damage they could do.  The anger I felt towards Clegg for jumping into bed with Cameron was watered down at least.  This could be good for us, I began to rationalise, putting any thoughts of deserting the party on a backburner.  We could keep those wretched Tories on their toes for the next five years – if the farce even lasts that long, that is!

The reality, though, has been somewhat different.  Clegg promised the party faithful that the very issues which characterised the Libs’ election campaign would take priority in the Con-Dem coalition, but it seems as though that was just the first in a long line of broken promises: we’ve seen the introduction of an immigration cap and almost forgotten what electoral reform is altogether.  It would unreasonable of me to completely neglect to mention the coalition’s stance on a replacement for Trident, but let’s just say it’s vague and most likely unreliable.

But what about education?  Surely the good old Liberal Democrats would never turn their back on the students they’ve drawn in for so long?  Well, apparently so.  When the findings of the Browne Review were published last Tuesday, Business Secretary Vince Cable defied all odds as he stood in parliament to concede that scrapping tuition fees – or even capping the annual cost of attending university – was nothing more than a fantasy, never destined to see the light of day.

It’s sad, really: look hard enough and you can probably see Cameron and his dear partner in crime (the ever-ghastly George Osborne, that is) holding a pistol to the back of Cable’s head.  And isn’t he loving it?  The Liberal Democrats gave the Tories the green light to seize power for the first time in 12 years, making a rod for their own back in the process and ensuring that – prime ministerial debates or not – they won’t overtake them in an opinion poll ever again.

Still, as much as I’d love to blame this on the Conservatives, I have to accept this is actually nothing but the Liberal Democrats’ own doing.  Nick Clegg was presented with an opportunity beyond most Liberals’ wildest dreams, and he blew it – simple as that.  But really, if you’re genuinely prepared to do the dirty and become a puppet of your arch rivals, you deserve everything you get (reputation for being a power hungry moron included).

The Liberal Democrats might not be finished just yet – after all, if everything is to be believed, the coalition is still going strong.  Yet I’m struggling to accept that their performance at the next election will be any better than the last, and the Tories – when presented with a clear majority of their own – will want anything to do with them.  No, the Lib Dems, in all their clownery, are done for, and down the pan with them will go all the hard work which brought them this far.  It’s a bitter shame, but it’s the truth, and so it seems three-party politics will soon be nothing more than a relic of the coldly remembered past.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
58 views
58 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
70 views
70 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
62 views
62 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
93 views
93 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
40 views
40 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
58 views
Arts
58 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
57 views
Film & Theatre
57 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
70 views
Sports
70 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
62 views
Arts
62 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
93 views
Arts
93 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1154 views1
Campus News
1154 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
40 views
News
40 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
98 views1
News
98 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
101 views
Campus News
101 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
108 views
Opinion
108 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
402 views
Arts
402 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
404 views
Arts
404 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
377 views
Arts
377 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
437 views
Arts
437 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
450 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
398 views
Arts
398 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
371 views
Arts
371 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
567 views
Campus News
567 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
317 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
932 views
Arts
932 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
378 views
Arts
378 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…