An Endorsement: Julian Huppert
May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
So this is of a rather different tone to what I usually write on this blog, but as polling day draws near I think it’s important to make my views known – and indeed, in the current climate, to explain why I, after the coalition, am still going to cast my vote for a Liberal Democrat candidate.
Julian Huppert has stood up and spoken on behalf of people who have no other voice. He stands almost without parallel as a prominent, outspoken social liberal, as we face electing the most illiberal parliament of our lifetimes after this Thursday.
Consider what might have been the price paid if we had an MP less engaged with student issues, especially the disability living allowance, which Julian campaigned to save, helping keep university accessible. Consider Julian’s successful campaign to make revenge porn a criminal offence – an important step in reaffirming the importance of consent in all sexual activities. Consider the importance of mental health – something on which Labour has occasionally paid lip service, but lacks even vague commitments in many areas. I myself think of the friends I have whose very genders and identities have been fought for by Julian almost alone among MPs. He has been by far the most consistent and committed advocate for trans people in this parliament; one they can ill afford to lose.
Whilst Labour’s policies may be an improvement over the misguided economics of the coalition, their plans all too often involve “hard working families” at the expense of those most on the margins of society. Labour have little belief in rehabilitative justice, or in an effective, humane drugs policy, two things Julian Huppert has been one of the greatest parliamentary advocates for in the last five years.They pander to UKIP on immigration, with an inhumane policy of stopping all benefits to migrants for two years that could condemn some vulnerable people to extreme poverty. There are too few people in parliament who understand the importance of data encryption and the internet; losing people like Julian will put our data security and ability to use encryption at great risk of being overturned by poorly thought Labour or Tory surveillance legislation. I am not saying that all this should lead to a Lib Dem landslide; it is entirely right in my view that the Liberals nationally should take a hit for their mistakes in government. All I’m asking is that you consider, in Cambridge, keeping just one of those six hundred and fifty voices to argue for a socially liberal society.
Julian has stood firm for asylum seekers, for trans people, for students. He resisted party and coalition pressure to vote against the government’s NHS bill, to oppose secret courts, and to hold firm to his pledge on tuition fees. He was one of only a small handful of MPs who was prepared to vote against his party to try and stop percentage caps on benefit increases. We cannot afford to sweep these issues under the table for five years. I simply cannot, in good conscience, vote to leave the people Dr Huppert has helped and fought for mute and voiceless for the next five years, and I urge any of you who can vote in Cambridge to support him on Thursday.