I might be a Lib Dem voter. In my home constituency, the choice at the last election was between the Liberal Democrats or Conservatives. So in that way, I am a Lib Dem voter. I am a Lib Dem when it comes to Europe: I like it. I am a Lib Dem when it comes to diversity, as many older (white) Labour members tend to have a pro-white working class male hangover from the past. I am Lib Dem when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn, given that I think he’s often careless and inept.
But when it comes to nearly everything else, I am a Labour voter: I am anti-austerity and pro-welfare state; I am anti-big business and pro-immigration. The Lib Dems are pro-austerity – take it from them. The Lib Dems are pro-big business and against higher rates of corporation tax – again, take it from them.
I believe that the majority of Cambridge students are not pro-big business or austerity. It is for this reason that you should only vote for the Liberal Democrats if there is a two-horse race between them and the Tories. Anything else would be inconsistent.
I understand the desire to be a part of a movement, be it pro-Europe or anti-austerity, and I more than understand the frustration with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
The trouble is, none of this really matters when it comes to electing Cambridge’s member of parliament.
You’re electing the best MP for YOU
The role of Cambridge’s member of parliament is to represent the best wishes of the constituency electorate. A large proportion of that electorate comprises students, academics and other left-leaning creative-types or professionals. And you, perhaps, if you’re reading this.
So if your interests are students’ rights, such as tuition fees, health rights, such as physical and mental health provisions, or economic rights, such as welfare for those who need supporting, then it’s in your best interests to vote for the person who supports these causes.
A cursory look at their voting records will show you that Labour’s Daniel Zeichner supports all of these causes, while Julian Huppert in fact does not.
While an MP, Huppert consistently voted against protecting benefits
Daniel Zeichner has voted against cutting local government funding, against renewing trident, against equal-number constituencies, and for further integration with the EU, and proportional representation. He has consistently opposed the government’s cutting of welfare benefits and the rises in tuition fees.
Julian Huppert’s record as Cambridge’s MP until 2014 speaks for itself: he consistently voted against protecting benefits, and he voted for the immoral bedroom tax, which disproportionately impacted the poor and disabled. This may have been in-line with his coalition government, but this is really no excuse and certainly does not show an MP willing to stand up for the rights of his own constituents.
Crucially, Julian Huppert also voted against switching to a proportional representation system, wherein the UK lags behind most of Europe in failing to adopt this fair and common-sense electoral method. Without proportional voting, the Greens and Lib Dems are disproportionately negatively affected, while the Conservatives benefit hugely from maintaining the old system. Why Huppert would oppose this is anybody’s guess. I’m guessing Tory pressure.
Zeichner is committed to the rights and representation of students
Zeichner’s support of PR is arguably more confusing: a more representative system would negatively affect Labour’s ability to pick up seats, and it is for this reason that many sitting Labour MPs oppose the new method – out of self-interest and party loyalty. This shows Zeichner is committed to the rights and representation of students and other members of the constituency, beyond party-political interests.
You’re not voting for a president
Remember that because we do not live in France or America (be thankful), a vote for a local member of parliament is not necessarily an implicit endorsement of the leader of their party. You do not choose ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ or ‘Theresamme’. You do not need to like Corbyn to vote for Daniel Zeichner. In fact, quite the opposite: Zeichner disagrees with Corbyn on many vital issues, such as in his support of Europe.
Sorry Lib Dems, you’re not the party of opposition
Contrary to what Tim ‘Kermit’ Farron might have you believe, the Liberal Democrats, however well they do at the general election, will not win half the seats Labour will – the local elections showed us this. To suggest that voting Lib Dem, in any seat which isn’t a Lib Dem-Tory run off, is strengthening the opposition to May’s regime is delusional at worst, and duplicitous at best.
The bottom line
Ultimately, Labour’s Daniel Zeichner has shown that he can consistently stand up for our interests in a way in which Huppert did not. To vote for Huppert simply because Corbyn has turned you off Labour is fickle and self-defeating. Our system is not perfect, but it is in constituents’ interests to vote for their best candidate. Daniel Zeichner is that candidate.