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With all the media frenzy over the war in Ukraine, did anyone notice there was a by-election in Birmingham Erdington? The people who lived there probably knew as they would, no doubt, have had their letterboxes filled to overflowing with blue and red leaflets.

But did they actually care? Not enough to bother themselves to vote! For 73% of them just couldn’t be bothered. They saw the difference between the two major parties as being so small as to not make a difference. They had the choice of voting for one party of high taxation, huge public spending and borrowing to match, or they could have voted for Labour.

The winner (or maybe the candidate who least lost) was Paulette Hamilton, a former nurse who was surprisingly the first black MP for the second city. The new Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington has said her byelection victory shows the party is “finally turning a corner” after she secured the seat with a majority of 3,266. That corner must be the one that led to a new peak of voter disinterest.

All this proves is that people are giving up, believing that things will be the same whichever major party they vote for. There is a great need for an alternative, not just to win elections, but to put pressure on both Tory and Labour to actually listen to what the public tell them.

Something Hamilton said in 2015 came out the night before the vote. “I’m not sure we will get what we really deserve in this country using the vote,” she said. “But I don’t know if we are a strong enough group to get what we want to get if we have an uprising … I am very torn.”

What will it take to get what libertarians want?

Martin Day – Party Secretary

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