Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Former Liverpool City Council leader, Warren Bradley, is worried about the coalition and concerned that our principles are being damaged by the coalition. He thinks we face meltdown at the election.

Well, Cllr Bradley, I'm worried about the coalition as well but I am also clear that it is the right thing to do. When I was fighting the General Election in 2010 in Henley - not exactly the easiest terrain to be a Lib Dem - I was clear about Nick's message that he would work with whichever party won the most votes, which is precisely what he did and precisely why, despite my abhorrence of that party, I'm prepared to hold my nose in the interests of the country.

Its also why I'm prepared to go on to the doorsteps of Oxfordshire - not full of rich academics, you might be surprised to hear, but made up of the ordinary folk who form the backbone of our country - to argue the case for the Lib Dems in government and for our proud record of running the Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire since 1995 very well, with low taxes, good services and a listening council.

Not surprisingly, I have found the response on the doorsteps here to be a mixture of disappointment mixed with understanding and acceptance that Nick is actually playing with a straight bat. I also find that when I tell people about - for example - the lower taxes for the lowest paid, the higher pensions, the halting of the wasteful and pointless Trident programme, the reason why student fees could not be scrapped this time round, plus the removal of many of the unnecessary restrictions on our civil liberties Tony Blair imposed upon people - they tend to understand that we haven't changed and that our MPs have simply done what every politician must do, which is to sit down and talk to our political foes to find the best way forward for our country.

That's not selling out our principles, that's politics. In fact you might argue that it is politics at its very best: the willingness to work with ideological enemies in the wider interest of the country.

I'm finding the experience on the doorsteps of Oxfordshire to be challenging but also very encouraging as most people are willing to listen and usually to accept that we are still the good guys, even if, like me, they can't stand the Tories.

I'm out to win in May. I'd like to think that Cllr Bradley is as well but sadly he's gone and made the job that little bit more difficult for his colleagues in Liverpool and for people like them across the country. I hope he will reflect on that and, instead of asking Nick to consider his position, perhaps Cllr Bradley might reflect on his own.

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