It comes as a surprise to none of you, I know that. It's long overdue as far as you're all concerned.
But to me, it was a big and oddly-troubling decision.
I've never liked UK politics. I've routinely hated UK politics. I gain some inexplicable fascination and amusement out of US politics even as a globalised world means its own actions no longer are isolated from my life; but I continue to consider this fascination a distinct and singular aberration. I detest politics, in so many ways. It is broken, in ways that for all our supposed intellectualism we are unable to solve or even simply alleviate in any way thus far. I acutely despise a world that makes politics the demesne of the financially independent, or obnoxiously vocative. That necessitates tactical voting. Where associations collaborate to decide explicit rules purely for the purpose of intentionally bending them in every way possible. Politics is a universal and unrestrained disaster. And we deserve every grievance we get for it.
It's a decision I've been debating internally for a substantial amount of time. Both that, and the fact I was even considering it in the first place both struck me. I have generally voted Lib Dem, Green or Independent all my life, that 's no shock, But to actively align, to declare myself; to involve myself; that was always unconscionable to me.
Credit must of course go, to 2 friends in particular, who have in large part, convinced me of the merits, not of politics, not of parties, but specifically of the Liberal Democrats. They made no grand appeals to my sense of fairness, no late night debates over the social mores of our time, they in fact, said nearly nothing.
They acted. They continued on with their lives as they always had. And their passion and commitment, both unique yet clear and undeniable, was disarming. I have met few people so openly, unapologetically, and plainly open about their beliefs on the world. My ignorance was never made to feel awkward, nor did it result in avoiding discussing things around me. Sometimes, they were irritatingly quiet when I wished they would say more, or explain more, to help my own understanding of my shifting views. But they let me come to my own views in my own time.
I went to Sleaford and ended up delivering leaflets. That's simple I guess. But I went to Sleaford to see a friend, to spend time with a friend, not to help in a campaign. He never asked me to either. But I chose to. Because walking up every driveway in an housing estate or quietly addressing envelopes at a dining room table was about spending time with a friend, and seeing passion shine forth from him pure as you could ask for in the world.
I cannot, and will not sit by and do nothing.
I wholeheartedly, completely, rabidly believe in the right to vote. I struggle to understand the right not to vote.
I disagree with Brexit, and even though I can understand the viewpoints now better than I chose to at the time of the referendum (credit for that goes to another acquaintance of rare and special mention; one who I admire for being more intelligent than me), I still fundamentally disagree with them.
I was born in the era of globalisation. I was born in the era of the EU. I was born a citizen of the EU. Even after Brexit, I will, in my heart and mind, if no longer on paper, continue to be a citizen of the EU.
There are people who will fight for that. There are people who will stand up and be counted for that when the need arrives. There are people who believe in a more global world. There are people who believe in paying higher taxes to help society. There are people who desire a more federalised Europe. There are people who think the status quo is something to be suspicious of. Not all of these people are Lib Dems; not all Lib Dems are these people. But I choose now to align myself with people who display more passion for their beliefs than I ever expected to find outside of religion.
I do not expect the Lib Dems, or Labour for that matter to win this election. I expect Brexit to still happen. But I wish to be counted. I am ready to be counted. I haven't entirely worked out what that means past this, but after today, now was the time to choose.
This isn't doing much, at all, really, in the grand scheme of things, or even in smaller, less-conspiratorial schemes perhaps. But for me, this is a bigger moment than it first appears.