26 April 2010

Not voting Lib. Dem. in Richmond Park

Richmond Park is a marginal constituency. You can tell this easily by the amount of electoral bumf that drops through the door every day. The montage is a selection of said bumf collected over about a week.

The currently MP is Lib. Dem. Susan Kramer but she is up against a formidable opponent, the Conservative Zac Goldsmith who grew up just around the corner from me and who still has family in the area.

The two parties have adopted very different tactics, Zac is pushing his policies but the Lib. Dems. are playing a nasty cynical political game.

OK, so we expect the "it's a two horse race" story but what's the point of claiming that a Lib. Dem. vote will keep the Tories out if Clegg refuses to rule out working with them after the election. Vote Clegg, get Cameron rings true.

But that's not what upsets me about their campaign. It's the scaremongering about possible changes to a local hospital and the deliberately misleading comments about parking charges in Richmond Park.

Whether some services at Kingston Hospital are under threat or not is not the issue, it's the way the Lib. Dems. have whipped up a frenzy on the issue and have seriously scared people about the proposals. They have even hinted that Kingston Hospital might close completely which is sheer nonsense - and they know this.

There are ways that the local MPs could engage in the NHS strategy discussions (and it is right that these discussions are being had) and they could easily represent their constituents' interests without scaring them needlessly in the process.

Scaring vulnerable people in this way just to get re-elected is unforgivable and is reason enough not to consider voting for the Lib. Dems.

The Richmond Park car parking charges issue has also been exploited cynically for political self-interest. These new charges are part of a raft of changes to the Royal Parks that were considered by Parliament recently. In the House of Lords the Lib. Dems. put forward some arcane motion (a Fatal Amendment, which had only been used three times ever) that would have killed the whole bill, not just the charges bit, and so it was rightly defeated.

The sole reason the Lib. Dems. did this was so that they could claim, as they do repeatedly, that the Tories could have stopped the charges but refused to do so. Again, the Lib. Dems. know that they are not telling the whole truth but they consider being re-elected to be more important.

Clegg walks the national stage promising a new way of doing politics but on the ground their tactics are shameful, cynical and downright nasty.

I have never been a Tory supporter but the approach of the Lib. Dems. locally means that I would rather they won here, as long as that does not give the Tories a majority overall!

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