Friday, June 30, 2006

Why I am not a Liberal Democrat

Easy to answer now...

Whilst we have similar ideas across many areas I just despise their attitude that all is fair in elections. It isn't and whilst I am appalled our efforts in Cheadle the Bromley and Chislehurst by election just makes me plain angry.

It is typified by this video clip (Thanks for Iain Dale pointing this out) of Bob Neils victory speech. Just look at Ben Abbotts in the back round.

Still this attitude of the Liberals probably explains why it took us Conservatives so long to ban slavery and sending children down the pits.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ben. Why do you think the Liberal campaign was so awful? Your man refused at the outset to give up a £47k job as a member of the GLA if he won as the MP. Salary - I think - £62k. The LD's hammered away on that one message. They didn't get any more personal than that, just kept banging away. In Cheadle your folk intimated that the LD candidate was a rapist!

Good grief man. Reality check!

Benedict White said...

Well, I did say I was not happy with Cheadle either.

Firstly several of your MP's are two or three jobs, including your leader. Whilst your candidate may have been talking of giving up some jobs, the attack was in my view dishonest.

He also claimed to have worked in an orphanage in his gap year, and on the blogosphere that seems to translate to a few hours visiting. If true, that would be highly dishonest.

I also really did not care for his attitude in Bob Neil's victory speech. It seemed he was proud of his tactics rather than either rebutting the claims or anything else. very smug.

that said, we ran a bad campaign, and gave you the amunition.

Anonymous said...

As a Tory, you see what you think is unfair campaigning of the Lib Dems (though they were only pointing out a matter of fact). What you don't see, is the unfair campaigning of the Tories, as in Cheadle.

The Tories aren't any holier than the Lib Dems, but you as a Tory you are inclined to close your eyes for their vices

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, for the hard of READING I will quote from my lead article:

"Whilst we have similar ideas across many areas I just despise their attitude that all is fair in elections. It isn't and whilst I am appalled our efforts in Cheadle the Bromley and Chislehurst by election just makes me plain angry."

What part of appalled is it that you do not understand?

Anonymous said...

The difference between B & C and Cheadle was of course, that the accusations of Lib dems were tue. Bob Neill didn't live in Bromley, and he has other lucrative jobs he isn't going to give up despite becoming a MP. It's not like the Lib Dems would have called him a rapist or anything.

Anonymous said...

"tue" should be "true".

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, you will I hope forgive me for treating you like a child, in a patronising way, because your arguments are childish. I shoud know I have three.

First of all, what happened in Cheadle did not begin and end with an implication of rape. It was the whole campaign. it was wrong.

Secondly the implication of the truth you offer, is not that Nem Abbotts would not give up his day job, but that your party would never dream of having an MP who had more than one job.

Your party leader has a job as a part time barrister, he is in fact a queens council.

Other members of your party have more than one job.

It is a dishonest position to adopt.

If your party had no members of parliament with similar interest, it would be a valid point. However they do and it is not.

Also, Ben Abbotts lived in Seven Oaks last year, when it was a GE there. Living in Mid Sussex as I do, and having seen some GENUINE Lib Dems who are LOCAL and some who like Ben Abbotts are moving where the oppertunities lie, I know that the "he is not local, our man is" is technically correct but in fact a bare faced lie. A bit like "We know Saddam has WMD" only with absolute evidence that the statement is rubbish rather tham an belief built on self delusion.

Last but not least, now that we are casting over the runes of both Cheadle and Bromley we have found that your dirty tricks can work for us. We can do better at elections by plating the man not the ball, the only issue is that it drives turnout down.

So do you want us to behave like you and wipe out democracy, or do you want to play fair?

Anonymous said...

First of all, what happened in Cheadle did not begin and end with an implication of rape. It was the whole campaign. it was wrong.

Accusing the Lib Dem candidate of being a rapist was just a good, concrete reminder of what the Tories are capable in their dirty campaigning.

Secondly the implication of the truth you offer, is not that Nem Abbotts would not give up his day job, but that your party would never dream of having an MP who had more than one job.

So? I don't see the point. If the fact that Bob Neill isn't going to give up is considered a bad thing among voters, what does it matter whether Ben Abbotts would have given up his other jobs because he wanted to, or because the Lib Dem party says so? Doesn't it tell something of the parties Neill and Abbotts represent, that the other is allowing its MPs to have other jobs, the other isn't?

Also, Ben Abbotts lived in Seven Oaks last year, when it was a GE there.

So? He saw the trouble to move to Bromley before the election, Neill didn't. Doesn't that tell something about how much these two candidates are ready to engage themselves to the constituency they are willing to represent?

Last but not least, now that we are casting over the runes of both Cheadle and Bromley we have found that your dirty tricks can work for us. We can do better at elections by plating the man not the ball, the only issue is that it drives turnout down.

OUR dirty tricks? We have never accused your candidates of being rapists, while they aren't. If we'll ever select such weak candidates as your Neill, please feel free to exploit it, I think it is in general interest to expose the weakneses before the weak candidate gets elected. But I would very much appreciate, that in the future you would only use accusations, which are true.

And BTW, I have four children around your age, so I'm quite accustomed to such childish outbursts as yours.

Benedict White said...

"Accusing the Lib Dem candidate of being a rapist was just a good, concrete reminder of what the Tories are capable in their dirty campaigning.
"

What, you mean like "The straight choice" against Peter Tatchel?

"Doesn't it tell something of the parties Neill and Abbotts represent, that the other is allowing its MPs to have other jobs, the other isn't?"

What that tells me is that you do not know how many members of your front bench team ahve other jobs than being an MP or spokes person hence my point. Your party does the same. So what does that tell us?

How many jobs has Sir Ming Cambell QC got?

"So? He saw the trouble to move to Bromley before the election, Neill didn't. Doesn't that tell something about how much these two candidates are ready to engage themselves to the constituency they are willing to represent?"

No it does not tell me that at all. Your candidate had a place in Sevenoaks demonstrating his commitment then, and moved on after the election. Your candidate here did the same thing. Rented a property here just to be able to claim she was local, whilst not actually being local or having any imtention of stayimg around. She has moved on. Bob on the other hand does not actually live that far away and has been involved in local politics for a while.

"OUR dirty tricks? We have never accused your candidates of being rapists, while they aren't. If we'll ever select such weak candidates as your Neill, please feel free to exploit it, I think it is in general interest to expose the weakneses before the weak candidate gets elected. But I would very much appreciate, that in the future you would only use accusations, which are true."

The point here is that you will allow you campaigns to say what your opponent is doing personaly is worng when your own members of parliament are doing the same thing. Again the "Straight Choice" campaign springs to mind which somewhat predates Cheadle.

You keep going on about Cheadle as if I or indeed many Conservative party members supported in. We don't. So if you have other examples of nasty Conservative campaigning please let me know, I thought I had made it clear I did not approve of Cheadle.

Mark Senior said...

Benedict , There are many Conservatives on Conservativehome and Iain Dales daily anti-LibDem diatribe calling for a Cheadle type campaign to become the norm for your party . You may well be critical of it but there seem to be many in your party happy to lie and call an opponent a rapist .
I can understand and would partly agree with calling the Lib Dem campaign in B/C too negative but the criticisms of 3/4 job Bob were just as valid if not more so than say 2 jag Prescott . The Lib Dem campaign can not justifiably be called nasty and certainly did not contain any lies .

Benedict White said...

Yes mark I know, and they are wrong to want to emulate our Cheadle efforts.

In my next article I list links to the members interests of 14 of your front bench team who have more than one job.

Prescott earnt his nick name for doing things like driving 300 yards. Were any of our lot to do the same the critisism would be valid on them too. That said that nick name was coined by the press not by any parties and is mostly used by them rather than the parties. Whilst it was the press who started the whole "three jobs" thing your campaign picked it up and ran with it.

However in this case, the campaign on "three jobs" implied the Liberal Democrats do not do the same. It is clear from the members register that they do.

Either the Liberal Democrats have a principled position on the issue or they don't. Thus the campaign looks like unprincipled opportunism.

I am glad however that we agree that there was too much negative campaigning.

Mark Senior said...

Hi Benedict MP's with outside jobs is a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine . A yer or so ago there was a strong debate on pb.com a year or so ago on this subject when I criticised Letwin for getting reelected and then immediately announcing his new job in the city . Personally I think an MP's job should be a fulltime occupation for a fulltime salary .
There are other examples of nasty Conservative campaigns but to be fair rather more of Labour ones and no doubt some Lib Dem ones although Bermondsey which you mention is not one of them ( I was there ) I will mention the recent council byelection in Watford and the fake Lib Dem focus which was an exact copy of a Lib Dem leaflet with Liberal spelt Literal and no imprint of the true publishing agent which is against electoral law . Seems the Conservatives were copying their compatriots in Hillingdon .
Seriously it is legitimate to criticise opponents personally after all voters are electing a personal representative but I agree that the thrust of a campaign should be on policy . Bit of a shame that your leader seems to not want any policies at least for the moment LOL .

Benedict White said...

Mark Senior said:
"Hi Benedict MP's with outside jobs is a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine . A yer or so ago there was a strong debate on pb.com a year or so ago on this subject when I criticised Letwin for getting reelected and then immediately announcing his new job in the city . Personally I think an MP's job should be a fulltime occupation for a fulltime salary ."

Fine, when your party follows it you are welcome to campaign on it.

Regarding other tactics I have no doubt Labour can and do play dirty. When I was standing for USSU presidency with a VP finance from Lincolnshire and a VP Comms originaly from Tanzania (of Indian extraction) they put it about that I was racist and homophobic.

Mark also said:
"Seriously it is legitimate to criticise opponents personally after all voters are electing a personal representative but I agree that the thrust of a campaign should be on policy ."

Fair enough, excet that the campaign went against your own parties practice which is my point. Looks two faced and dishonest.

On the policy lite issue, we have discussed this issue on PB.com as well, and I still think that for now it is a good strategy.

Mark Senior said...

Hi again Benedict ,

Let's leave it there for now but note that your information is not completely up to date on your other thread on Lib Dem MP'S . Lynne Featherstone did not stand for reelection this year .

Benedict White said...

What re-election to the Council seat?

So presumabley she kept here seat on so as not to cause a by election with the intent of standing down at the next election....

Just like Bob Neil.

Which is my point.

By the time Bob gets his seat and does a Lynne Fetherstone all he will be is an occaional barrister.


Just like Ming. Thanks for highlightimg my point.

Mark Senior said...

Hi Benedict , Neither us can presume to knoew why Lynne decided to stay on as a councillor for 12 months but I believe that she did say this in her election campaign . The difference seems to be that this was accepted by her electorate whereas with 3/4 job Bob it is clear that many of his electors including Conservatives were not .
I note you have not commented on the example I gave of nasty / illegal campaigning in Watford .

Benedict White said...

Mark, did anyone make personal attacks on Lynne about her position? That is the question. I suspect we would not have done so because we don't see a problem with it.

As for Watford, we do not know who did that, but yes it is wrong. It would be nice to think that the police took things like this seriously and made sure they caught the culprits, but I doubt they could be bothered.

Mark Senior said...

Hi Benedict ,

The Hillingdon connection makes it pretty clear who was behind the fake leaflet in Watford though proof to satisfy the police and courts is not so simple to get .

Benedict White said...

Well Mark I won't ask you to name names, but given the abuse of the democratic process, I would have thought the Police to be arsed to investigate properly and fully.