Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How The #LibDems in #Islington Lost My Vote #IslingN

This is Rhodri Jamieson-Ball.  He's the LibDem PPC for Islington North in the General Election.  I wasn't going to vote for him anyway, but something he's been doing has helped lose my votes for his colleagues in the Local Elections.

I've already been a bit annoyed about the LibDems in Islington before.  I'm sure I've mentioned on here their chronic over-leafleting, and their screaming negative politics against the "can't win here" Conservatives and the "want to close the Whittington hospital" Labour candidates.

They never seem to have anything much positive to say about their own policies, apart from freezing council tax and giving young people priority for social housing.  Their campaign literature is a broken record, political noise that I simply began to filter out after their third or fourth contribution to my doormat.

To their credit, one of the most recent leaflets managed to actually break from the norm, and included a questionnaire, which asked me about whether I was more or less afraid of crime than five years ago.  Because, of course, fear of crime is what good policy should be based upon.

Up until it was saved, the Lib Dems raved on and on about how they were the only party campaigning to save the A&E department at the Whittington Hospital, claiming the local Labour Party had pushed for its closure.  When I saw that Islington Labour were also campaigning to save the Whittington, I challenged a Lib Dem activist on it a few weeks ago, and was told that Labour only joined the campaign when they saw which way the wind was blowing.

Then yesterday, someone on Twitter linked to this article in the Islington Gazette.  Aside from collecting signatures on a petition, it seems the Lib Dems didn't actually do all that much for the Whittington.  Certainly, they were far from the only political champions, which rather casts doubts on how honest they're being about their other claims, confirmed by this graph which frequently appears on their leaflets:

Now look at how it appears if you actually draw it to scale (pinched from Harry Metcalfe):

It might seem like simple electioneering, but given that the Lib Dems are supposed to be the refreshing new surprise package in this campaign, they're not exactly being positive about the alternatives they offer.

Jamieson-Ball is also far from open about his competition on his website.  He simply refers to the "Labour MP for Islington North" rather than actually naming Jeremy Corbyn anywhere on his site.  He makes general statements such as "Labour has let us down on crime and the local Labour MP has done nothing to help" and "this Labour government, propped up by the Islington North's Labour MP".

Corbyn is hardly a prop to the Labour Government.  You only need to take a look at his voting record to see how many times he's voted against New Labour's most hated policies.  The fact is, no matter what you think of the Labour Government, Corbyn has been an excellent local MP for many years.  It would be such a shame if he lost his seat simply because people didn't bother to research who he actually is and voted in protest against his party.

While, nationally, the Lib Dems have been a breath of fresh air, locally in Islington they have been a negative drain on my very soul, failing to paint a positive, optimistic vision of the future.

Their only saving grace is that they're not the only ones who have been pretty woeful at telling me anything about their local election candidates.  I can find very little information about any party's candidates on the Internet.

I only realised today that I actually get to vote for three people in the Local Elections rather than a single party, so I have some reading to do, if I can actually find anything to read.  With the Lib Dems getting under my skin, it looks like a straight choice between Labour and Green.

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