04 May 2010

Election update

Here in Lewisham East the libdems have had by far the most active campaign. Sadly, it's founded on a negative claim, that "the Conservatives can't win here". This is based on the voting in council elections four years ago, which was a highpoint for the libdems. In truth, it would be an absolute catastrophe for labour if they didn't win here. The best explanation of the strength of the libdem campaign is that every extra vote will strengthen and prove their claim that the present electoral system is biased against them.

The labour campaign started early. I was canvassed by a lovely local councillor, and I'd hardly got out the words "I'm a natural labour voter but ..." before her crumpling face betrayed how many times she'd heard that. The candidate, Heidi Alexander, is playing a sly game. Her publicity says she doesn't agree with everything the labour govt has done, and she'd be prepared to discuss this personally. So she gives the impression she might be able to deplore the Iraq war, for example, in private. For me, that's not good enough. The problem with the last government wasn't just its leaders, it was the supine acquiescence of virtually all the backbenchers that let them get away with it (where are pesky kids when you need them?) The old lot and the new lot need to admit that was wrong and show that they will be willing to challenge their leaders, in public.

The Conservative campaign ... is there one? I haven't seen any trace of it. They obviously believe the Libdems' slogan. In any case, there's more chance of me cutting both my legs off and climbing Everest than voting for them.

I really don't have any choice but to vote Libdem.

Meanwhile there are local elections, including that for the Mayor of Lewisham. Here, the libdem candidate's main proposal is to abolish the post entirely. I think I agree with that. An executive mayoralty risks being undemocratic, and the advantages claimed for the system - faster decision making, clearer direction - don't seem to have appeared.

And finally the ward councillor elections. Should be safe for labour. And I really mistrust libdems in local government. Memories of the disastrous administration in Tower Hamlets some years ago. So I'll probably vote labour, with maybe a vote for the first green candidate alphabetically.

Meanwhile, disregard all this if you live in Sittingbourne & Sheppey, where Nevols is yer man, or in Merton Trinity ward, where the Green party has an exceptional candidate, Liz Matthews.

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