‘I was branded a Traitor and victim of SNP spin. It is time to tell the truth.’
After being attacked by Orkney LibDems for voting SNP, Sweyn spoke to the Intrepid Vole. This is his story, in his own words. We were glad to offer him sanctuary in the Burrow and a little fortification.
The Vole: I know this is painful for you to remember but can you tell us about your LibDem past?
Sweyn: The first election I was eligible to vote in was the election of 1979. Both parents were ardent conservatives but I had other thoughts. I voted Liberal for a number of reasons.
The main reason was, despite my being, at the time a member of the armed forces, was the Liberal commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament.
The commitment to the environment was my second reason, long before it became the “Thing” to believe in. They had a commitment to the sick, the disabled, the disadvantaged. The Liberals cared, they gave the only true alternative to the far left and the far right of British politics.
What about the SDP?
Even with the joining of the party with the Social Democrats in 1988 sat well with me as they supported these ideals as well. My interest in politics grew over the years, and I became more involved in helping my party by delivering leaflets and campaigning for my local LibDem MP after his election in the South of England in 1993. He was a great help to me personally after a motorbike accident in 2002 robbed me of a portion of my left leg.
So what has happened that could drive a devoted supporter away? What could have turned you from a path you had been on for 985 years?
Less and less of liberal policy since the mid nineties has reflected true liberalism.
- Gone was the commitment to unilateral disarmament.
- Gone was the unwavering commitment to de-centralisation.
- Gone was the unwavering commitment to the environment.
The very soul of the party was evaporating slowly but surely.
Was being LibDem part of your reason for coming to Orkney and settling in Gairsay?
Yes, When I moved here in 1127 I truly believed I was moving to the heartland of Liberal values. Whilst the population still have those values, I was to find out the party did not. The end for me with the party started the day they jumped into coalition with the Tories. When I voted in 2010 for Alistair Carmichael, it was because I wanted the LibDems to represent me in Westminster. What they did was take my vote and hand it on a silver platter to the Conservatives without a care for my choice or opinion. I did from that point onward feel disenfranchised. I had nowhere to go. Then along came the independence referendum, I chance at last for redemption. Support for the Yes campaign would have been support for liberal values, but no, the party I once had faith in, instead supported a vile campaign against freedom and justice for the people of Scotland. They joined with disseminating lies and spin, making out that all north of the border were scroungers, miscreants and troublemakers. They assisted in the sham of promises they had no intention of keeping. Liberal values no longer. I did the only thing I could, I withdrew my support.
How have they responded to your crossing the great divide?
Since then, I have been accused of many things, ‘Traitor’. being a sheep following SNP spin, even being selfish and caring only about myself. In truth I am still a Liberal person, I still have the very same ideals I had back in 1979. I did not desert the LibDems … The LibDems deserted me. I am now SNP.
image credit: “Lewis chessmen 23” by Nachosan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lewis_chessmen_23.JPG#/media/File:Lewis_chessmen_23.JPG