IN recent months, I had been serving the public as a Lib Dem – with increasing moral, personal and philosophical discomfort.
Once, I believed that the Liberal Democrat Party possessed a set of values and beliefs that were a genuine and real alternative to the Labour Party. I now realise that view was wrong.
Sadly, the Liberal Democrat Party possesses no common belief, idea or value system to bring them together. There is no sense of principle. There is no common philosophy that drives it. It stands for nothing but the re-election of its own representatives.
Believing and standing for nothing more than re-election of its own representatives manifests itself in a most unattractive manner. It results in lies and deception, a need and willingness to say anything and misrepresent everything.
Nationally, it breaks promises – the decision not to allow a vote on the European Union Treaty was inexcusable. Where I am a councillor in Hull, the same is true. The party could not implement recommendations of its own Independent Flood Review Panel, and continues to hide the truth of its spending plans from the public.
I stood as a Parliamentary candidate in 2005, and the Liberal Democrats national platform was "the real alternative". Looking back, it was a hollow platform then, but it means nothing now 100 days into Nick Clegg's leadership. The Parliamentary party provided no alternative on Europe and it consistently fails to provide an alternative to Labour on all major issues.
The public is crying out for change. Change from big Labour government that is covertly nationalising ever aspects of public life. Change from big Labour government that squanders billions, yet fails to deliver real improvements to public services. Change from big Labour policies that fail to deliver choice to hard-working families, and change from big Labour rhetoric that talks one story while quietly acting out another.
I once believed that Liberal Democrats represented that change. I now know that it does not. My experience has taught me that the Liberal Democrats exist purely for a singular purpose: to re-elect themselves and maintain blobs of orange on a political map, no matter what the consequence. Without a common core of values, they are unable to represent change.
I recently concluded that the only party worthy of support was the one that does provide a real alternative to Labour, one that truly does represent change, and one that holds true to a set of beliefs, namely the Conservative Party under David Cameron.
In recent months, David Cameron has shown himself to be strong, willing to listen to different points of view and adopt a course that is the right one for our cities and our whole country.
In Hull, across Yorkshire and throughout the UK, people want to improve the NHS, raise standards in our schools and fight back against crime. Only the Conservatives have the ideas and the long-term policies to meet the new challenges that this country faces
The Liberal Democrats cannot do that – they are a disparate group who want to further their own ends rather than make a real difference to our communities and our country. They don't know what they stand for and are happy only when opposing.
I have also been impressed by the Conservative Party's efforts in Yorkshire in recent months. From having a limited operation, you now get the real sense the party is moving forward. Cameron is right to suggest that one of the most significant problems we face as a region is transport.
This invigorated and refreshed party is so impressive in a way that the Liberal Democrats are not. The Conservatives are positive about the future; my former party always seem to want to find problems and not solutions. Try finding a positive story next time you receive a Liberal Democrat leaflet through the letter-box.
David Cameron understands that people are fed up under Labour.
He knows there are no easy answers to our broken society, but he has shown a willingness to acknowledge that there are problems and work out solutions – in stark contrast to the other parties.
There are many reasons why I decided to defect and join the Conservative Party; those I have explained here are the most important.
It is a political party founded on principles and belief. It is a political party which, under David Cameron, is the only alternative to Labour. It is a political party that I am now delighted to represent.
Andy Sloan is a Conservative councillor for Drypool Ward in East Hull. He stood for the Lib Dems in Hull at the last General Election and, until January, was the portfolio holder for Economy, Regeneration, Strategic Planning and Transport in Hull's Liberal Democrat cabinet.