Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Problem Number 2 : A Shattered Pledge

Jennie says everything I wanted to say about the tuition fees issue, except ten times better.

You really should read her full post here but here's the key paragraph:

Let me spell this out in very small words: the problem is, as I said before it even happened, that, with twenty-one honourable exceptions*, our MPs broke their word. We ran our whole damn general election campaign on no more broken promises, we're not like all the others, vote for us and things will change because we're honest... And then we broke our word.

There are some excellent comments as well.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Winning Elections Is Easy

Winning elections is easy.

At least if you are Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

Never been to the constituency? Doesn't matter! Have problems with the local lanaguage? No problem!

Ruthe Ellen was a candidate for the New Democratic Party in last week's elections in Canada. As Wikipedia explains:

She is also an animal welfare activist who has worked to find homes for stray animals and help injured animals recover.

As of May, 2011, Brosseau is a single mother who resides in Gatineau, Quebec. Brosseau held the position of assistant manager for Oliver's Pub, a bar on the campus of Carleton University in Ottawa.

Brosseau ran for a seat to the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 federal election. She stood as the New Democratic Party candidate in the electoral district of Berthier—Maskinongé in central Quebec. She was the second nomination choice of the party as the original candidate, Julie Demers, decided to run in Bourassa instead (where she lost).

Initially, Brosseau was considered a paper candidate who had been selected by the party due to the lack of a viable local nominee. She never put a serious campaign together and never went to the riding, which straddles the regions of Lanaudière and Mauricie, during the writ period. However, on election night, Brosseau defeated incumbent Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament Guy André and four other candidates winning with a plurality of 5,735 votes and taking just under 40% of all the votes cast. André finished a distant second, with only 29.4 percent of the vote.] Her victory was part of a wave of NDP support in Quebec--a province in which the party was virtually nonexistent prior to this election. By the end of election night, the party had seen a provincial seat increase from a single one in Montreal to a surprising total of 58.

The Toronto Globe And Mail has more here.

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to see the funny side of this. I sincerely wish her well. She's going to have an interesting time....

Problem No:1 A Vague Identity

The party is in a mess and it's going to take a lot of effort to get us out of it.

We don't have one big problem, we have four.

The first problem is that it's very hard to sum up our party's basic aims in a sentence or two. Ask most people and they might say that the Tories are in favour of free enterprise, low taxes and reducing the role of government. They'll say Labour are also more or less in favour of free enterprise, but want higher taxes and the state to do more. The Greens obviously are there for green issues, UKIP are anti EU. The SNP want independence for Scotland.

And the Lib Dems?

"The official view is “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity” but that is pretty vague. Most of our voters would yawn before even finishing reading it.

On economic policy it was all a lot simpler for us in the ’80s when you had Thatcherism on one side and outright socialism on the other, it was easy for us to offer a middle path. Not so easy now – though I think we are doing a good job inside government holding back the extreme right of the Conservative Party who seem to hate the NHS, BBC , etc. But that’s not being seen by the public.

Also a lot of the “Liberal” battles over the last 40 of 50 years have been won. So what is our raison d'etre now? What do we say in 30 seconds on the doorstep?

If I was going out campaigning today I'd say : We support free enterprise – but the wealth should be shared, the lowest paid shouldn’t pay income tax and big corporations and super-rich shouldn’t get away with paying little. And we believe that that organisations like the NHS, the BBC and the armed forces should be properly funded and supported.

But other Lib Dems might say something completely different - and therein lies the problem.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

In Deep Blue Rochford

Rochford District has been one of the bluest councils in England in recent years - before election day the Tories had 31 seats, we had 5 , the Greens had 1 and the Rochford District Residents Party had 1, with 1 vacancy in Hullbridge.

It was very much an election for us to focus on defense, as we had elections in all 3 wards where we had councillors....

The end result was that we lost one seat (Sweyne Park) where we were defending a majority of just 30. But we held our other wards (Downhall and Rawreth, and Grange) with over 73% of the vote in straight fights with the Conservatives.

So although it's disappointing to have lost in Sweyne Park, we still have a very solid base for the future. And we've found new helpers, a new candidate and a new agent , so it's not all doom and gloom.

Elsewhere in the District, the expected Green challenge faltered in a couple of Tory wards, but Christine Mason for the Rochford District Residents Party won Hawkwell West, so that Christine and her husband John are now an official party group, and we will be sitting next to them in the council chamber.

The Council is now 31 Tories, 4 Lib Dems, 2 Rochford District Residents and 1 Green, with one vacancy.
Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

I write this blog in a private capacity , but just in case I mention any elections here is a Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Ron Oatham, 8 Brixham Close , Rayleigh Essex on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 8 Brixham Close.