Friday, 4 April 2008

Political Background

I come from a traditional Conservative background. My family have been farmers for several generations and I was a Conservative before I could vote. Then Mrs Thatcher went from getting Britain going again to a rabid anti-European autocrat and I saw the light. Since then I have been a fervent Tory hater, anyone but the selfishness of the right.

Part of why I originally liked the Conservatives was the chip-on-shoulder mentality of the Unions characterized by Arthur Scargill and Red Robbo. They said that their industries were going to be laid waste, and through their actions they made sure that they were. The Conservatives stood up to this which appeals to my pragmatic side, life is there to get on with and it always changes.

After I saw the light I became a Liberal Democrat. I have always voted for them and until today I was a member of the party. I have left not because I am disillusioned with the party, but because of the nature of some of the members. I will still always vote for them, but I wish that politicians were of a higher standard.

I can say this from my own experiences. I was a City Councilor in Exeter for two terms. I was elected and re-elected with about 50% of the vote for a ward based around the University campus. The Conservatives were the only real opposition. When I was up for re-election my wife was pregnant and the chairman of the local party decided that I was not able to make the commitment necessary to ward duties and so de-selected me! So much for Liberal and Democrat! Luckily for me they could not find another candidate and I stood again and won, on the day after my son was born. The chairman lost her seat at an election and so she became the other councilor in my ward when my colleague died. We would continuously spar as to how to run campaigns in the ward. She wanted to do it all by the ALDC book (ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councilors). ALDC send out their monthly clip-art of campaigns we should do, but this was a very sophisticated ward with its own particular issues and I disagree with the ALDC mantra, you treat the public like children then they will throw toys at you. Anyway to cut a long story short, eventually I moved on to Oxford and we found a suitable candidate to replace me who most voters thought was me. In the next election after I had left the now ex-chairman lost her seat. The beautiful irony was that it was by one vote, sadly to the Tory. So I wonder what the excuse was. Surely it was nothing to do with her lack of activity.

The real moral of the story is that politicians are our representatives and that they should listen to their constituents and not treat them like gullible fools.

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