I won’t be back properly blogging for a couple of days, but something made me absolutely furious — the start of Ed Miliband’s speech to Labour conference:
Friends, it is great to be with you in Manchester. A fantastic city. A city with a great Labour council leading the way. And a city that after this year’s local elections, is not just a Tory-free zone but a Liberal Democrat free zone as well,
Manchester is neither “a Tory-free zone” nor “a Liberal Democrat free zone”. I know, because I’m a Lib Dem who *lives* in Manchester, and has to tolerate that “great Labour council”, rather than praising it while living safely insulated from its decisions hundreds of miles away. 13,134 people voted for Liberal Democrat candidates in this year’s local elections in Manchester. Even in our worst year ever, that’s still more than zero.
What Miliband means is that it’s great to be in a city where those Liberal Democrats, and Tories, Greens, UKIP supporters, TUSCers, Pirates and the rest, have no representation because an unfair, disproportional, electoral system gives Labour a ludicrous advantage. All those people are, to Miliband, unpersons. Those who do not agree with Miliband do not really exist…
I regularly get abuse from Labour supporters (and from those who say they “hate all the parties equally” but never get round to saying anything bad about Labour) about my continued membership and support of the Lib Dems. Despite all the bitter disappointments of this government, the Lib Dems as a party are still the only major party to have a true commitment to reforming the political system to allow other voices to be heard. Labour, on the other hand, celebrate the broken system and erase those silenced voices altogether.
Despite everything, I know which I prefer.