Letter from Bassetlaw – January 2nd 2016

leafleting in Blyth - 150427 - cropped2015 has been a mixed year, politically very bad for Lib Dems but personally a year in which I achieved many things that a few years ago I didn’t think I was capable of.  To take part as a candidate in a number of election hustings (as I did this year) and to be able to hold my own against seasoned politicians was something that I never thought I was be brave enough to do.

In the coming year, because we do not have any major elections in our area (even the PCC election is in doubt as the job might be merged into the D2N2 Executive Mayor & Combined Authority) we will be focusing on rebuilding the Liberal Democrats throughout the Sherwood & Bassetlaw areas.

The Political Landscape

Since the General Election, we have had a Government formed purely by a Conservative Party that has not been restricted by being in a Coalition with the Liberal Democrats.  We have had over 7 months to see what this has meant, 7 months to see what the Lib Dems did (or stopped the Tories doing) in the preceding 5 years.

From Energy (where the restrictions on fracking have been relaxed & the help to the emerging renewables sector has been slashed) to Police (budgets cut, PCSOs & civilian staff made redundant); from Personal Freedom (the re-introduction of the “Snoopers Charter” & threats to the Freedom of Information legislation) to Education (the dogmatic insistence on Academies & the reintroduction of national testing on even the youngest pupils); from Welfare (cuts to benefits, tightening of eligibility criteria) to banking(where the inquiry into banking practices has been shelved) , we can see where the absence of Lib Dems in Government is being felt.

Across Government we can see clearly that the Tories in power without anyone to hold them back are able to impose, regressive, authoritarian polices.   Even if you think the Lib Dems did nothing else in the 5 years in the Coalition, it is impossible to deny that but for Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Danny Alexander & the other Lib Dem Ministers, the country would be far worse off today in many, many ways.

It is not as if we have an opposition in Parliament that is even trying to hold them to account.  Since the General Election, Labour has been engaged in a fighting an internal civil war.  First a long protracted leadership campaign then, the refusal of many MPs to accept the result.  I realise that there is probably over 4 years to go before a General Election, but because the labour Party cannot take any decisions on policy or present ideas for the future, they are failing as an opposition just at a time when we need a strong dynamic force to stand up to the Tories the most

As there are now serious doubts emerging that Labour can continue as a united party, let alone an effective opposition, we need another national party, united behind a dynamic leader, with experience of being in Government and willing to face up to difficult issues, to make the hard choices.  There is only one choice, the Liberal Democrats under Tim Farron.


Bassetlaw for Europe

As I have written elsewhere (Why we must fight to stay in the EU) we will soon be into the EU Referendum.  As no one else locally seems to be willing to step forward, I am setting up a non-party group to work for an overwhelming vote to stay in the EU.  Please join me.  In the next few weeks, I will be arranging an open meeting to publicly make the case for staying in & will let you know the details nearer the time.


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