2024 is set to be the biggest election year in history. 4 billion people across 70 different countries, half the world’s population, will be going to the polls. In India, the largest election in the world, one in eight of the world’s population will be able to vote in the 37-day process. At the other end of the spectrum, North Macedonia’s presidential election will see around 800,000 votes cast in April, a month before our own (admittedly even smaller) City Council elections and, if some commentators are to be believed, the UK’s General Election.
Election systems will vary in all sorts of ways, but the first rule of democracy is universal: Decisions are made by those who show up.
So, what will showing up for democracy mean for us this year? The UK is crying out for a change of government. Through economic crisis, covid scandals, the Rwanda policy, sexual harassment lawsuits and a collapsing public sector, a change of government cannot come soon enough, and I don’t envy our new Prime Minister the situation they will be taking on.
Internationally, the picture is in some ways a reminder of how lucky we are to live in a democracy, albeit a flawed one. Pakistan is heading into its General Election next month with former Prime Minster Imran Khan in jail, in an election many consider to be rigged from the outset, almost as clearly as the Russin Presidential “contest”. While the Iowa Caucus part of the US election is a supreme example of elections being decided by those who show up, Taiwan however gives us much needed reason for hope, as the Democratic Progressive Party unexpectedly held the presidency following disappointing local election results last year. A nation’s future was decided by those who showed up.
Here in Cambridge, there are two reasons we Lib Dems need to show up; not just to the ballot box (although of course I hope you will!) but in the weeks and months of building the narrative and sharing our vision of a liberal democracy.
Firstly, we are one of very few seats where our presence, and our values, will have an impact on what Labour do if they are in government by 2025. With the political mood saying, “anything but the Conservatives”, it is in seats like Cambridge, with the Tories typically receiving below 10% of the vote share, that people have the luxury of a true choice between yet another Labour MP, or a fresh voice arguing for change. We remain the only party in Cambridge truly championing a future in the European Union; a truly progressive and representative electoral system and rebuilding our public services with the investment it needs. In the UK, it is in rare seats like Cambridge that there is no need for tactical voting. That means Labour are watching us, and watching how people will respond to our message.
Secondly, one seventh of the city of Cambridge is in the South Cambridgeshire constituency, where one of the closest battles between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives was run in 2019. Our support for South Cambs candidate Pippa Heylings in Queen Edith’s, Cherry Hinton and Trumpington Meadows could see a significant part of our city served by a Lib Dem MP this year.
The time to share our vision, to make our arguments for a united Europe, electoral reform and a rebuilding of our public services, is now.
Therefore, in this biggest year in democracy, I’m writing to ask “Can you get involved?” Whatever it is you can give, be it a £20 donation, 30 minutes leafletting each month or a canvass session once a week, it is now that it will really count.
If you’d like to give:
Time – Campaigning events will be emailed out on a Sunday night by campaign organizer Will Tillbrook. We are delivering leaflets across the constituency for the local and the General Election, canvassing in our target wards and phoning members to invite them to our quiz at the end of the month and future events. There is also regular clerical work, including data entry, printing and envelope stuffing happening. You can sign up to volunteer here:
Join our team of volunteers today and make a difference. Thousands of Liberal Democrat volunteers up and down the country are helping to elect community champions, get a fair deal for people in Britain, and change the world for the better. Join the team and become a volunteer today.
Money – We are currently fundraising for two things: a magazine focusing on the Lib Dem vision for Cambridge to be delivered across the constituency, new stuffing machine and to replenish our stocks of garden posters to make sure we are ready to turn Cambridge yellow. You can donate here:
Space – It’s never too early to sign up for a garden or window poster! If you have a place for a gold diamond during the election, please register here -
Sign up for a Garden or Window Poster
Events - If you’d like to get to know us first, we have social events running throughout the year including a quiz on 2nd February.
It’s time to show up for a future in Europe, for a better kind of democracy and for the free, fair and open society Liberal Democrats believe in.
As we approach the biggest year in democracy, I’m excited and proud that we’re playing our part in it. If you’d like to help but are not sure how please do get in touch, and I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail soon!