ELECTION 2015: Chichester - Andrew Smith (Lib Dem)

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The Liberal Democrats were right to form the coalition covernment with the Conservatives in 2010 when no party won a majority at the last election.

The Liberal Democrats acted in the national interest when tough decisions were required to sort out the mess.

Gordon Brown once boasted that he had abolished boom and bust.

While Labour may not have caused the 2008 financial crash, they left the UK extremely vulnerable to its consequences; we’ve all had to pay a terrible price for Gordon Brown’s hubris.

That it has taken the coalition government such a long time to turn the economy around is a measure of the scale of the impact the credit crunch had on the UK with its overdependence on financial services and high levels of debt fuelled by an unsustainable housing boom.

Key Liberal Democrat pledges have been delivered: a substantial rise in the personal allowance, restoration of the earnings link for state pensions and extra money to support the poorest children at school.

We need to reject the politics of grievance, whether it’s the SNP blaming Westminster (ie the English) for any problems in Scotland or UKIP blaming Brussels (ie Johnny Foreigner) for any problems in the UK.

If either party achieve its aim, the UK risks losing its place at the top table of world affairs.

A majority for either Labour or the Conservatives will see them return to type.

If you believe that government should:-

:: enhance people’s chances in life by creating opportunities rather than entrenching advantage

:: balance rights and responsibilities

:: accept mankind’s responsibility for climate change

:: look to the future not back to a bygone age

:: be internationalist not insular

:: embrace the UK global responsibilities as a leading nation

:: be on the side of the consumer rather than the provider

: respect the rule of law and due process and be against the arbitrary use of power

:: encourage free enterprise tempered by effective and appropriate regulation as the primary means to create wealth, then you should vote Liberal Democrat.

Because only the Liberal Democrats agree to all of these principles.

And the application of these principles will ensure that the UK can:-

:: enjoy a high-quality NHS adhering to its founding principles,

:: make proper provision for pensioners, and

:: provide educational opportunities for all

Vote for a fairer society and a stronger economy.