Friday, 14 May 2010
A More Honest Leaflet for Bristol West?
Above is a possibly more honest version of the standard "X can't win here" leaflet so beloved of the Liberal Democrat Party. In case you missed the subtle change;
If you read Stephen's "three things to remember", he says:
"Only Stephen Williams or Gordon Brown's Labour candidate can win here. The Conservatives are third and have no councillors in Bristol West."
Obviously Stephen and the rest of the Lib Dems felt so sorry for the Conservatives and their lack of representation in Bristol West that they decided that they would represent the Conservative point of view themselves - even if it was at the expense of Liberal Democrat policy commitments.
So Stephen and his fellow Lib Dem MPs will absent themselves on any vote to introduce new nuclear power stations, along with his yellow colleagues. Effectively this removes the 57 Liberal Democrat MPs from the vote leaving the Conservatives with a majority over the remaining parliament - so when it comes to making decisions about new nuclear power stations the 57 Liberal Democrat MPs have effectively decided to give the Tories the majority government they didn't earn at the ballot box from the electorate of 45 million.
I am sure all those local Liberal Democrat politicians and activists who turned up for the recent anti-nuclear demonstration in Bristol will find some way to justify that position, after all this is the age of pragmatic politics, so the important thing is that the Lib Dems can still say that they didn't vote for that new power station at Hinckley Point/Oldbury on Severn in their election leaflets. Meanwhile Chris Huhne, the newly installed energy and climate change minister will hope that nobody remembers that he told the Associate Parliamentary Renewable And Sustainable Energy Group;
“Our message is clear, No to nuclear, as it is not a short cut, but a dead end”
Likewise, I am sure the local Liberal Democrats will say that the cuts to public services between now and the next local elections are not their fault either despite them supporting the agreement to go along with Tory plans to slash another £6 billion from the deficit in 2010/11, largely by increased cuts to public services. This is despite Nick Clegg making it clear at the Lib Dems conference in March that he would not support plans, backed by the Conservatives, for early cuts to public spending;
"I think, we think, that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism"
But that was before polling day and the offer of John Prescott's old job. Likewise, it was before polling day that Nick was telling us that a cap on immigration would not stem the number of immigrants as 80% of immigration was from the EU which had freedom of movement. But now he is Deputy Prime Minister of a government that will introduce a cap on non-EU immigration. As for the EU, well the Liberal Democrats have now agreed to toe the Conservative Euro-sceptic line by agreeing to a referendum on any further adoption of leglisation that involves further powers going to Europe (how that is defined is apparently unclear).
Returning to Stephen Williams, surely it would be churlish to remind him that he said that "the government's recent promise that it will hold a referendum on the alternative vote system some time in the next parliament is simply not good enough", now that the new Liberal-Conservative government says it will hold a referendum on the alternative vote system some time in the next parliament.
Stephen was also complaining that Labour had previously reneged on their 1997 promise to introduce proportional representation because, as Stephen also points out, the Alternative Vote system offered by Labour is not proportional representation. He is absolutely right of course, it is disgraceful the way in which political parties renege on promises made during the election campaign - it is indeed"simply not good enough"
The question is - will we, the electorate, ever learn?