In 2010, we entered a new era of politics. As someone who was swept up on a wave of Cleggmania, I really can’t believe what has happened.
I’m not “banging on about tuition fees again”. I mean, yes, without a doubt what happened on 9 December 2010 is what killed them, but they didn’t just increase tuition fees that day, they did something far worse, they destroyed faith in politics for an entire generation of young voters.
The few remaining LibDems who haven’t jumped ship continue to delude themselves. “They had no choice”. Utter tosh, I’ve combed over the coalition agreement, this was entirely an unforced error. Suicide.
Don’t say “tuition fees weren’t a big deal” or “other parties break their promises all the time”. My earliest memory of the LibDems was walking through Sheffield city centre as a teenager and seeing a campaign stall against tuition fees. Make no mistake, tuition fees were a big deal: a flagship, party-defining policy party that won many votes. Other parties break promises as the realities of government kick in, but none, ever, have so dramatically betrayed those who voted for them. I, and millions of others, felt sick, like our votes had been stolen.
For those who still don’t get it, imagine if UKIP gained power and within 6 months abandoned plans for a referendum and instead voted for closer ties with the EU. Its really not a stretch to make this comparison, it would quite rightly kill UKIP as a party and that’s exactly what has happened to the LibDems.
I used to swoon over Nick Clegg, now all I feel is loathing. A few years ago on the Sheffield to London train I briefly glanced up from my book as a man walked past. It took a moment to register that man was Nick Clegg, but I was immediately overwhelmed by an emotion I can not ever recall feeling before or since: rage. Undoubtedly the most angry and betrayed I have ever felt in my life. What he and his colleagues did was unforgivable.
I see the party is trying to promote the #libdemfightback hashtag. It won’t work, they’re just performing CPR on a cold corpse. The LibDem brand as toxic and uninhabitable as Chernobyl. RIP.