General Election 2017

Let Huppert be Huppert: Call to Arms

Shudong Li has been providing Violet the inside scoop on the Cambridge Lib Dem campaign. Here’s his plea for local Liberals to come out of hiding

Shudong Li

The Lib Dem diamonds have been vandalisedSHUDONG LI

This is a party political message to the 27.1% of the student population. Where are you?

Where are the remainers? Where are the remoaners?

Where are the globalists who have not given up on the world just yet? I ask because the Varsity election poll which showed that the majority of students leaned Labour was disheartening but not entirely unexpected. It seems the majority of our students have picked isolationism: they have opted to shut our doors. They have picked to leave the EU single market and they have picked to end freedom of movement.

To me, Corbyn represents the same isolationism as presented by UKIP and the Tories. The damaging, inward looking policies, centred around British interests. Nationalise everything and “take back control” (of our water companies?). By giving up on Europe (a stance he has always held), Corbyn has lead us down the same nationalist path as the Conservatives but with a different end goal. One which would see us become a lone socialist crusader, separate from international interference.

The truth is, in one of the most Remain constituencies in Britain, Cambridge represents the beating heart of anti-Brexit. We need to show that in an area reliant on a global outlook that we don’t agree with the majority. We believe Brexit is harmful and we just cannot elect an MP whose party believes otherwise. If you think electing one MP would achieve nothing in that fight then just look to UKIP. They have only ever had two MPs and both began as defections, yet we have voted to depart the EU.

"Unfortunately, in the battle for students, personality politics has won. Corbyn is worshiped as a principled man who does not bend for anyone."

But where are we headed?

The destination is exactly what a Lib Dem vote will help to mould.

Sadly, in the battle for students, personality politics has won. Corbyn is worshiped as a principled man who does not bend for anyone. Jeremy Paxman saw through this (in the May vs. Corbyn questions) and there’s a reason he grilled Corbyn on his own beliefs of Trident and his inability for that to be party policy. He was trying to break the illusion that Corbyn was immovable and show the electorate that this is man who believes in one thing but actually caved for party coherency. Yet – it was perhaps too little, too late.

There are a small number of local Labour activists who proudly beat their chest. They are members who name and shame addresses then plot to deface Tory and Lib Dem posters on their Facebook page. Then are then showered with support from other members (picture below). And it is working. Some members in a stand of resilience have asked for new signs but others, worried about further vandalism to their household have denied our offers of support. This is the side we don’t see as students.

"I worry that we have forgotten about what we are fighting for as students, how we are fighting to keep the same internationalist liberal country we have had for our entire lifetime"

Facebook posts targeting signsFACEBOOK

My campaign diary itself this week is hectic, having started campaigning for the first time on Polling Day (4th May), I have now reached the end of my tenure. From being Susan van de Ven’s driver to now helping the Cambridge operation, it has been an experience of many different flavours.

And now that I have been given more responsibility in the run-up to elections, it's more thrilling than ever. I remember when I first came – I spent two minutes in the office before I was sent out for delivery. Now I feel part of the core campaign team, helping set up Polling Day and organising volunteers at Campaign HQ.

However, throughout my time on the campaign, the issue of the university-wide vote has been eternally chiselling into my resolve. I worry that we have forgotten about what we are fighting for as students, how we are fighting to keep the same internationalist, liberal country we have had for our entire lifetime. In a seat which has received coverage from the national press, we are fighting so that our voice will resonate across election night.

So that David Dimbleby will announce that in parts of Britain most affected by leaving the EU, there was a declaration of protest. We reject UKIP and we reject isolationism.

To achieve this, we need every one of the 287 student Liberal Democrat votes from the Varsity poll and more. If you have any spare time on 8th June, we need to mobilise. There are then tasks to be done from 5am to 10pm, a slick operation with the sole goal of getting out the vote.

The County Council Polling Day has been my highlight so far and it is well worth it just to experience the energy of the campaign during those handful of hours. So this is a call to arms, for all those who are willing because you will never get a better opportunity to make your voice heard