I joined the lib dems on 3rd May 2013 at about 21:00. I was at my friends house and 18 months of confusion and dissatisfaction manifested itself in my pressing the join button. It was kinda terrifying. But I’m glad I did it. I kept it quiet for a few days because I needed to talk to some people in my former party about my jumping ship. So many of them knew how unhappy I had been both locally and nationally and so it came as no big surprise to them that I had finally taken the jump.
Coming out of the closest was hard. I expected criticism, who wouldn’t but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had found myself increasingly disagreeing with my old party and ever more agreeing with the lib dems. I felt like I had a huge neon sign above my head everytime I went into a constituency or branch meeting. It said “I don’t belong here”.
The criticism ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. The most vitriolic referred to my defection as me “whoring myself out” and the most hilarious referred to me being a “careerist”. As much as I like my new party, I don’t think joining the liberal democrats is the most sensible move for a “careerist”. Some just said “why” and others took the easy “we never liked her anyway” approach.
Joining a new party can be pretty terrifying. There was an article about it in two of the local papers. They called me a “prominent” activist. Was I? Am I? Really? Really really?! My first response to seeing it was to laugh and say “blimey slow news day or what?!” I made the mistake of reading “below the line” on the article and saw many odd comments about me. One said I was the obvious choice for parliamentary candidate, one said I would “soon sort out all the liberal men” and others labour I assume said I was just a careerist. Whatever.
As for my intentions, I’m going to do what I ever do. Represent my ward on the parish council, represent my trade union members to the best of my ability, fight to get more female candidates and just go with the flow politically.
I’m not going to start wearing socks with sandals or change who I am. I’m just me. I’m a lib dem now. So what?