Lib Dem candidate Liz Leffman (with large rosette) and supporters at the Witney byelection count [Image: Chris Radburn/PA].

Lib Dem candidate Liz Leffman (with large rosette) and supporters at the Witney byelection count [Image: Chris Radburn/PA].

How soon the public forget.

The Liberal Democrats propped up the most right-wing UK government in living memory for five years, allowing the Tories to ride roughshod over the honest, hard-working people.

They oversaw the most oppressive clampdown on British citizens’ civil liberties for decades. Your telephone calls and Internet messages are monitored. You can be arrested, charged, tried and imprisoned without ever knowing why or seeing any evidence.

They supported Tory economic austerity measures that failed to revive the UK economy but instead more than doubled the national debt. Meanwhile public services were cut to the bone.

They launched the largest ever reorganisation of the NHS after promising to end such changes. They promised annual real-terms increases in NHS spending – they lied. They promised to stop Accident and Emergency ward closures – they lied. They promised more choice for patients and GPs – they lied. They introduced private healthcare provider companies into the NHS when nobody wanted them or supported the move. They blocked a meagre one per cent pay rise for NHS workers while voting themselves an 11 per cent rise (on higher salaries).

They supported the Bedroom Tax, and falsely accused working Housing Benefit claimants of fraud.

They supported harmful changes to the assessment of benefit claims that have led to countless deaths – and when I say countless, I mean the Tories and Liberal Democrats simply didn’t bother to count the number of people who have died.

They supported ‘Free Schools’ which underperform in reading, writing and mathematics, where teachers often had fewer qualifications than their students.

They broke their promise to reform the UK’s banking system – that caused the financial crash that nearly ruined the economies of the western world; they implemented only half the measures – and these proved almost entirely ineffective.

Their policy on immigration was to include foreign students in their policy of reducing net migration into the UK, meaning the number of international students coming to the UK fell dramatically – at a time when government policy was also to increase their numbers. It was an act of internationally-renowned stupidity – both attracting and rejecting foreign students; turning away the talent they wanted to import.

The list goes on and on.

But it seems they can make you forget all that, simply by bussing a load of activists into your area and talking at you until you give in.

Allow me to reiterate what I said before the 2015 general election:

Anybody voting Liberal Democrat is like a turkey voting for Christmas.

The Liberal Democrats enjoyed their biggest swing in two decades in a surprise upset at the Witney by-election, leapfrogging Labour and Ukip to take second place.

The result in David Cameron’s former seat was still a comfortable win for the Conservative candidate, Robert Courts, a barrister and local councillor, but he won fewer than half of the 35,201 votes chalked up by the former prime minister in last year’s general election.

In a constituency where the highest prize for the Lib Dems was likely to be second place, the party threw extensive resources into the fight, shipping down more than 1,000 activists one weekend and the Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, visiting the constituency five times.

Source: Witney byelection: Lib Dems resurgent as Tories hold on with slashed majority | Politics | The Guardian

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