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Guest blog from a candidate in Tory-Lib council land

Posted on 27 April 2010 | 9:04am

Georgia Gould, a young Labour activist who sought to be a Labour candidate in Erith and Thamesmead, is standing for the party in Camden council elections.

After hearing some of her stories about the way the Tories and the Lib Dems work together, I asked her to write a guest blog. Here it is.

Who is Nick Clegg pulling in on his coat tails?

So Nick Clegg is prepared to back up a Conservative government. As a Camden activist where the Liberal Democrats have been in coalition with the Conservatives for the last four years this comes as no surprise. Campaigning yesterday one of my colleagues bumped into a Lib Dem councillor barely able to contain his excitement at the prospect of Nick Clegg’s poll success translating to Liberal Democrat votes locally. But who is Nick Clegg pulling in on his coat tails? In Camden it is a coalition that’s sold off council housing, hiked up prices for meals on wheels, privatised cleaning on estates, cut youth provision, summer play schemes, UK online centres and practically anything else that effects the most vulnerable. All that before the economic crisis constrained spending. This is a familiar story for residents in Leeds, Ipswich and Birmingham a few of the 18 councils run by a Liberal Conservative pact (only 8 are Lib-Lab coalitions)

At the moment the Liberal Democrats are providing a home for the collective frustrations of a country understandably disappointed in politics. However we can’t let Nick Clegg get away with playing the role of outsider. The fact remains his party is in power across the country and time and time again his councils don’t quite live up to Clegg’s shiny rhetoric.

Nick Clegg’s new buzzword is fairness but in the Labour Party we don’t need anyone to remind us that fairness is at the heart of our politics. It’s why we all joined in the first place. No one needs to tell my colleagues in Camden – new or old Labour – that cutting recycling on estates or online centres serving those without access to the Internet is a bad thing.  We may not always agree on the means but we all subscribe to a set of values that put public services and the needs of every person including the most vulnerable at their heart.

At the end of the day we have a huge amount to be proud of in the pursuit of a fairer country. It is only a Labour government that would ever have possessed the political will to bring in the minimum wage. No Conservative threats of economic decline we’re going to get in the way of a policy Labour activists had been campaigning for since 1900! Record hospital building could only have come from the party that fought tooth and nail to give us a national healthcare system in the first place.  Labour have revolutionised childcare with Sure Start freeing millions from the burden of paying for private care and this started in the most economically deprived areas. Labour built a Britain where equal social rights started to become a reality. These changes came from a collective will of 1000s of committed MPs, councillors and activists and these are the people to protect them in difficult times.

Yes there is so much more we could have done. And yes we do need to reform our political system. I am looking to the new candidates in the Labour Party to offer those new ideas but with a clear set of values not a Liberal Democrat party struggling to work out exactly what they stand for. Over 100 Labour MPs stood down at this election leaving the door open for a new generation of candidates who if elected have the opportunity to create a different kind of parliament. Ed Miliband’s green manifesto launched offers a radical new strategy to build a green economy while his brother David enjoys the respect of the rest of the world as he carves out a new approach to foreign affairs.

On the economy it is only Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling who have been brave enough to tell the country that yes unpopular decisions need to be made and they will have to put up national insurance. But in return they’ll also ring fence spending on the NHS, education and policing. They won’t promise pie in the sky election tax cuts but will fight like anything to ensure that the cuts we make don’t affect your safety, your kid’s education or your family’s healthcare. The Conservative threat is real and they appear to have stopped even pretending to be progressive allying themselves with fringe parties in Europe, tax breaks for the most wealthy and cuts that could see thousands out of work.  Let’s not forget that we’re not voting for a president here – we’re voting for a party. I want to be sure the person in charge of healthcare, education, childcare and local youth provision has a strong set of progressive values. Unfortunately with the Conservatives and the Liiberal Democrats it’s a big risk.

At election time parties are very fond of constantly reminding you that there is a two horse race but this is one time that a vote for the Liberal democrats really might just mean you wake up with a Conservative government. And in Camden, we know what that means.

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour

  • @jlocke13

    Get the facts right….”the party that fought tooth and nail to give us a national healthcare system in the first place…” Conservative PM Winston Churchill passed an NHS bill in 1943. The Labour leadership initially opposed the formation of the NHS… all your great schemes, noble as they are cost money…at the moment this government is borrowing £310,000 every second, you have to start living within your means…

  • Candy Atherton

    Good blog – but come down to Cornwall and see what the Lib Dems are like when they are in control. They ran Cornwall Council until last year when they were kicked out.

    They left the county with failing adult and social care, a fire service that was not fit for purpose, a £400 million pound waste contract that they signed and then led the successful campaign to oppose, increased their allowances, imposed a unitary that less than 20% wanted, promised to reduce council tax and then increased it by nearly 5% every year and when they took over our airport they were so unprepared it closed!

  • Bar Bar of Oz

    Notice Ed Balls doesn’t crack a mention! Georgia Gould and her generation are going to be essential to the rebirth/rebuilding of New Labour after this election. After the darkness comes the dawn and all that. Good luck to her from Oz.

  • Charlie Reynolds

    Ah – The hereditary principle


  • olli issakainen

    Both the left and the right in Britain have believed in the neoliberal Washington consensus: low taxation, privatisation and the deregulation of financial services. But neoliberalism has failed.
    The financial crisis showed that markets are not self-regulating. The crisis, which started in mid-2007 in USA, is only in its early stages. Tony Judt talks about the “little crash of 2008”. We must urgently rethink the ideas on which our policies are based.
    Capitalism has recently made huge strategic mistakes. Wider goals are needed than just shareholder value and big chief executive pay.
    The Tories would shrink the state and build a Big Society – not correct excesses of the neoliberal capitalism which has produced an unstable society. What we need is a reformed capitalism with responsibility.
    We cannot afford our financial system. Today´s system does not produce gains that justify its costs. Fundamental changes in policy towards the financial system are required.
    Periodic deep crisis is fundamental to capitalism. But crises are different from crashes. Crashes do not last and they have few long-term consequences. But crises are rare. In crisis like the recent recession political leaders must think in new ways. Ideological reconstruction is prerequisite for resolving the crisis.
    We need new forms of politics. “Back to Keynes” is not an alternative. Keynesianism went bankrupt in the 1970s.
    Phillip Blond calls for a system based on virtue rather than power of the market or state.
    According to Jeremy Rifkin empathic civilization is essential. Transformation of consciousness can save humanity from self-destruction.
    Our culture is one of endless complaint and bottomless claims of entitlement.
    Tony Judt says that the social contract of postwar era – the guarantee of security, stability and fairness – is no longer assured. Last 30 years has been pursuit of material self-interest.
    But we must not put blind faith in the market. We must value fairness over mere efficiency.

  • Bernie

    It was the LibDems who buggered up Hackney locally too. Somewhat of an understatement in fact.

    And guess what, it’s Labour again who sorted that mess out.

    Wake up folks. You’re sleepwalking into a world of pain.

  • Leo

    Wouldn’t it be better for young people like Miss Gould to live outside the world of politics for a few years so that when they talk about fairness and real-world concerns they speak with the benefit and authority of experience? Isn’t it the ‘same old politics’ to have young bright privileged people float into the world of political influence without any idea about the lives of the people they claim to represent.

  • Alex

    Leo is quite right. We could well do without more careerist wannabe politicians like Gould and Straw junior, whose life experience outside the priviliged pravda goldfish bowl in which they inhabit is zero. Its why the local labour party in Thamesmead reacted so badly to GG being foisted upon them by the politburo bunkerists.

    Unfortunately for New Labour spin, GB’s dishonesty toward our armed forces and his incompetence in terms of NHS funding and mishandling of the economy (in the good and bad times) is plain for all to see. The facts speak for themselves; its amusing to watch Labour disintegrate – its a credibility issue you see and unfortunately for the pravda disciples who inhabit this blog (you are one step removed from scientologists by the way) we can all see for ourselves exactly what sort of person the likes of Balls, Straw, Harman, Milliband (x2), Johnson, Mandleson, Alexander et al are and it ain’t very appealing to be frank.

    Alex (non-voter, former labour voter for my sins)

    ps – ‘David enjoys the respect of the rest of the world as he carves out a new approach to foreign affairs’. What a preposterous statement; laughable in fact. When you come out with this sort of sychophantic nonsense you only serve to make persuade us non-partizans as to why you shouldn’t be trusted to represent us.

  • Mark Wright

    You make a very good point about the make-up of the Parliamentary Labour Party changing considerably after May 6th regardless of the outcome. I don’t think we are heading for any kind of watershed moment with any one party steaming out ahead. Therefore the make-up of the parties will be more important than ever. Labour, regardless of the outcome have a chance to renew with the new blood that will enter the House of Commons.

    If Clegg ends up with the Tories, the most ‘establishment’ party possible, in coalition he’ll never be able to claim any semblance of credibility again. Some things just don’t fit regardless of the prize.

  • Alan Quinn

    Who does Clegg think he is throwing the 50,000 who work on Eurofighter on the dole? The LibDem-Tory coalition would also make sure we bought American instead of British. It’s the 1980’s again for manufacturing.

    BTW. The taxpayer’s stake in the banks has now gone into surplus.
    Another chance for GB to tell Dave he got it wrong on the economy (again), make sure he knows about it AC.

  • Robert Jackson

    Georgia Gould would represent me just fine, thank you.

    If a bit of life experience is needed to run Birmingham the way the Tories do then better with just good labour values and a bit of commonsense.

  • Michael Roche

    I sent the following to the

    “I listened to the sky news report today about the discussion with Mr Cameron and Jonathon Bartley’s Father regarding Special Needs funding.

    My Conservative Local council’s S.N. unit worked very hard to persuade us to transfer our child Christopher (He is Blind) into main-stream education from a Specialist Blind school. After much reluctance we agreed. Five years on he is now attaining A* grades in all subjects as GCSE level and wishes to attend University with an ambition to earn a Doctorate.

    We very much doubt this would have been the case otherwise as he has benefited greatly from association and competition with able peers.

    It would be a huge mistake and a disgrace to withdraw this facility or detract from the services and rights available to people with disability”

  • jeremysmyles