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Lib Dem Mayor defects to Labour over cancer remarks from the Tory PM

Lib Dem councillor Joyce Underhill and her husband Cllr Tony Underhill have both left the Liberal Democrats because of something the Conservative Prime Minister said during Prime Ministers Questions yesterday. Joyce Underhill is mayor of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and her husband is a standing councillor. David Cameron was constantly asked over a change to the welfare bill that according to Ed Miliband and Macmillan cancer care that will lead to a situation where up to 7,000 cancer sufferers will be £94 a week worse off each week. The PM said that it wasn’t the case but the Labour leader kept with it and I’m sure when it comes out in the wash we’ll find out whose right. As it stands we have no idea.

However waiting for the facts to play out wasn’t good enough for these two ex-Lib Dems and they jumped ship for Labour over it. I’m guessing it was the straw that broke the camel’s back as it were. Instead of discussing the pros and cons of what they did I want to have a look at the fact they jumped ship to Labour.

Look I just don’t get it. Do some people believe that they have to be a member of a political party? What have Labour done to attract people from the Liberal Democrats? Yes I can see why some Lib Dems are disaffected but that doesn’t mean that Labour are the right move. Surely the best thing to do would be to be an independent and then take a step back and see what happens next. If I got so pissed off with the Lib Dems then I just wouldn’t be a member of any political party. Labour have repeatedly shown they do not hold liberal values at their core and that is the base of my membership of the Lib Dems.

Our opinions and outlook change over time but they change at a snail’s pace. You don’t just decide one day that in fact you don’t agree with one parties policies and suddenly you agree with another. You just don’t. So it seems to me that some people are so desperate to belong that they will ditch one party for another even if the other party doesn’t fit in with their ideologies.

Have these two people jumped ship solely because they believe that Ed Miliband and the Labour Party care about cancer patients and that Cameron and his coalition partners don’t? I don’t know but considering how quickly they have defected from one party to another that are a ways away on the majority of policies shows that they either do not care that much about policy and/or were never true Liberal Democrats but more ‘anyone but Tories’. One of those two pretty much has to be true.

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  1. Cat Cat

    “If anyone was disgraceful it was Milliband. His claim was completely over the top and Cameron was basically right in what he said.”

    There is delusional and then there is “Liberal Neil”, you’ll be the one handing out the kool aid and making sure they drink no doubt.

    Miliband’s claim was straight from research produced by the leading cancer charity Macmillian Cancer Support. And considering this was only cancer patients Miliband’s figures were a significant under estimate of the true number of people affected by the time limiting of contributory based ESA.

    “(And I lost my mother to ovarian cancer when she was 53, before you ask.)”

    How did she feel after chemo? Did she feel like going back to work?

  2. Liberal Neil Liberal Neil

    If anyone was disgraceful it was Milliband. His claim was completely over the top and Cameron was basically right in what he said.

    (And I lost my mother to ovarian cancer when she was 53, before you ask.)

  3. Cat Cat

    Oh and when you or an extremely close loved one has suffered from cancer (or any debilitating illness) you’ll understand why Cameron’s disgraceful response was the last straw.

  4. Cat Cat

    “That to me doesn’t make sense. That was the point of the blog.”

    It seemed more like the point of your blog was to say “Mr & Mrs Underhill bastards and never real libdems anyway, I’m glad they’ve left because we’re better off without them”.

    Might make you feel better but any sane person would stop drinking Clegg’s kool aid and think – why has somebody who has been a member for 23 years and obviously put in quite a bit of effort quit? – but instead you just carry on slurping the kool aid and bad mouthing anybody who doesn’t toe the party line. Just carry on doing that, Neil, all the way to Jonestown.

  5. Cat Cat

    “they either do not care that much about policy and/or were never true Liberal Democrats but more ‘anyone but Tories’. One of those two pretty much has to be true.”

    Ermmm…Mrs Underhill climbed the libdem local government greasy poll all the way to be the top, you don’t get that far in any political party without putting in shit loads of effort.


    “Joyce Underhill and husband Tony, who has prostate cancer”

    Maybe Mr & Mrs Underhill obviously have first hand experience of chronic, debilitating illness. Have you or do you suffer from cancer or any chronic, debilitating illness, Neil?


    “Mrs Underhill, a Lib Dem member for 23 years”

    You claimed to not be a libdem member a few months ago, I take it you’ve now joined?

    • admin admin

      Ah Cat. I do love three.

      Oh I have no doubt she put in a shit lot of work to get to where she is. People do that all the time in political parties then suddenly switch alligences to a party with completely differing ideologies overnight. That to me doesn’t make sense. That was the point of the blog.

      I do not suffer from cancer and nor do I suffer from a debilitating illness.

      I have joined the Lib Dems as of around April time I think it was.

      I hope that answers your questions. Much love x

  6. Excellent points from both Julia and Neil.

    I have to admit to being cheesed off. Clearly Cameron’s argument with Miliband is very hurtful to cancer sufferers (whoever is right, it gives an impression that no one can be bothered to find out what benefit changes actually mean to them). But it wasn’t Nick Clegg at the dispatch box, so I fail to see why someone should leave the Lib Dems over this.

    I understand that some Lib Dem members feel they can no longer support the party because of Coalition policy. But then please can they resign over a point of policy, not because David Cameron offended them!

    • admin admin

      Niklas: Totally. I can fully understand getting cheesed off with things that the party have done/allowed to happen. However this wasn’t one of them and to be so cheesed off at the party to move to another party that do not hold the same policies on pretty much any front just does not make any sense to me.

  7. Julia Julia

    The LibDems have far too many members and supporters who are in reality “anyone-but-Tories”. When we were a minority party we were a pretty good flag of convenience both for them and “anyone-but-Labour”, depending on the prevailing wind in each council. Fine in a position of protest, perhaps fine in a position of power, but disastrous for a party whose national future always lay in coalition. It was pretty inevitable that one or other category would desert the moment we allied with their nemesis.

    • admin admin

      This is an extremely fair and accurate point and one that is to me more than a tad depressing. I joined the party solely because I agreed in principle with what the party stood for and campaign on. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t be a member. People should be involved in politics for a positive reason and not to attack another party and their policies. Maybe I’m too much of idealist but politics is far too negative and always has been. Until we can make politics a positive thing with positive campaigns focusing on what the party of your choice is proposing then politics will always have this ugly edge – certainly for a third party.

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