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So a Labour candidate says I am a Tory and Tweedledum. I do love negative politics….

Kevin versus three Tories; the contest in Westborough exclaims the latest headlines on Julian Ware-Lane’s blog. The blog is largely considered to be one of the very best in Southend – certainly when you are talking about local politics. So it disappoints me when you see such a biased and misleading (at best) headline. Some would even go as far to say that it is a flat out lie.

I have no comment to make on any of my opponents. I don’t know any of them. Therefore I feel like it is unwise and uncalled for to make any comment on them or their politics. However Julian has decided that despite having never met me he feels in a position where he can make a comment on me and my politics. I suspect this is solely because I am a Liberal Democrat and because at a national level the Lib Dems are in a coalition with the Conservatives that must equate to the two parties and everyone in both parties being exactly the same.

Yeah Peter Bone and Nadine Dorries have the same political ideologies as Mike Hancock and Sir Bob Russell. Give me a break. Had the Lib Dems gone into a coalition with Labour would all Lib Dems suddenly be Labour now? Just because of a decision based on numbers of MPs the Lib Dems have shifted to the right whereas had the numbers been slightly different they would have all shifted to the left.

Seriously how pathetic and lazy is that thought process? I mean honestly. Are we so blinkered that we believe there can only be two viewpoints, the right and the left and those who are in the centre must secretly be one or the other? Do Labour and the Conservatives deep down detest the Liberals for being a genuine alternative and disrupting the political ping-pong that means one of those two parties will always have power and when the public gets annoyed with one they go straight back to the other and vice versa.

He says about me, ‘Neil Monnery, who has recently announced his candidature, is the Liberal Democrat’s choice. Neil is Tweedledum to the Conservatives Tweedledee, to paraphrase Graham Longley from the last General Election’.

I don’t know the quote to which he refers but to intimate that I look and act like the Conservative candidate is probably inaccurate unless the Conservative candidate is a closet liberal. If that is the case then I probably do act like him. I doubt I look like him. Since I wrote that sentence I have googled the Conservative candidate and I don’t look like him. Therefore Julian’s assertion is well wide of the mark.

The sad thing is this is generally accepted in politics. Write something inaccurate and people will bitch and moan and then write something inaccurate back. I wrote that I was going to run solely a positive campaign. I will concentrate on what I believe and what I believe I can bring to the people of Westborough and in turn the people of Southend as a whole. That is something I will do. I won’t attempt to scare people into voting for me.

I won’t be composing statements such as, ‘This leaves Kevin Robinson as the only sensible alternative (to the three ‘Conservative’ candidates)’. I won’t be doing this because that is old school politics and a form of politics that I detest. I stand on my own two feet as I firmly believe the other candidates will and should do.

There are at least four candidates in the ward. The defending independent and the three major parties have all selected a candidate and plan to run in the ward. I hope that the electorate in Westborough choose to listen to what everyone has to say and vote for the person they want. Whether that person is me or not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted right-wing values that I’m the person for them because I’m not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted left-wing values that I’m the right person for them because quite simply I’m not.

I am the classic liberal in every sense. I believe in equality for all. I don’t just represent one supposed ‘class’ of society. I think when all is said and done we are all equal and deserve the same basics in life. What we decide to do with that is up to us – we are all individual but we all deserve that same basics, to have good health care, a good level of education, to feel safe, to live in a clean environment etc…

That is my philosophy pure and simple.

To write that the Labour candidate is the only sensible alternative (to the Conservatives) is a lie. It is a political lie but it is a lie. There is a Conservative candidate, there is a Labour candidate, there is a Lib Dem candidate and there in an independent candidate. All four of these people are different and no doubt have different views on life, the world and more importantly in terms of this election local politics and what is best for Westborough and Southend as a whole.

So all I’d say is not believe spin from anyone when they come to talking about people they do not know on any level. This is the old way of politics and is the way that has led the public to disliking politicians and politics as a whole. Write about you and your party and your colleagues. Don’t talk about things and people that you do not know. That is flat out dumb.

If Julian believes that misleading his readership is the right thing to do then so be it. If he thinks that bending the truth to a vast degree is the best way to support his fellow Labour candidate in the ward then so be it. I believe in telling the truth and talking about things that I know. I know where I stand in the political spectrum. I know my thoughts on politics at both a local or national level. I don’t know what the other candidates think therefore I don’t write or talk about it.

When it comes down to it I hope people back me if they believe in me and my politics. I hope they vote for whoever they vote for because they believe in that person and not because they were scared into it or that they are the best of a bad bunch. In May they’ll be at least four different people standing on four individual platforms in Westborough and all I sincerely hope is that the winner is the person that the majority of people truly believe is the best person to represent them, whether that is Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, Kevin Robinson, Neil Austin or myself (or anyone else who stands). I just hope people vote for who they want based on what they can do – not because of what other people say the other candidates say or do.

Politics doesn’t have to be full of murky waters and mistruths and misleading statements. It can be open and honest. I do believe this and even if I lose in May I will continue to push for more openness and honesty within politics. Without moving to positive politics, the trust in politics and politicians by the general public will only continue to go down.

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  1. Paul Westlake Paul Westlake

    The 2010 Labour manifesto promised to allow #NHS hospitals to “increase their private services” –

    It’s amazing how opposition changes their policies. The Conservatives and Lib Dems have both had to change some of their policies because of this 5-year coalition. What’s Labour’s excuse?

  2. Well said, Neil. I’m afraid I stopped reading anything by Julian when I realised he could only cope with old-fashioned ‘pigeon-hole’ politics and knee-jerk sneers. Shame really, as he’s quite a nice bloke.

  3. tonyhill tonyhill

    I quite agree. I stood for our local authority seven or eight times without ever being elected. I put forward my views clearly and positively. If I mentioned other parties it was to explain how liberalism differed in delivering political solutions. The fact that someone in their seventies who had never voted anything but Labour in her life, and someone in their thirties who had never voted before both supported me meant more than being elected.

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