Positive policies rather than politicking and potshots

I expect that everybody who is going out doorknocking on behalf of a political party during this UK General Election campaign occasionally finds themselves on the receiving end of comments like:

  • You’re all in it for yourselves
  • You’re all cheats and liars
  • I wouldn’t vote for any of you
  • (and my particular favourite) You’re all morons

Look through any book of amusing quotes, and you’ll probably find a section on political insults dating back centuries (e.g. Benjamin Disraeli: “The difference between a misfortune and a calamity is this: If Gladstone fell into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, that would be a calamity.”) So the phenomenon is nothing new.

But does it have to be this way?

Do the pantomime performances at Prime Minister’s Questions enhance accountability, or are they just plain embarrassing? Is this childish tribal rivalry really the best way to serve the people of our country?

I don’t think so.

The public want to see more dignity, integrity and seriousness restored to political debate – not politicians tearing lumps out of each other (and the media have a role to play here too, editing more for substance and less for sensationalism). These are challenging times, and proper debate is essential for proper leadership.

Parliament in many ways sets the tone for our entire society. If we see our political leaders fanning the flames of tribal hatred, as some of them do, it gives others permission to do the same. Labelling and dehumanising people whose views differ from your own encourages the abuse and threats hurled at politicians, leading to personal danger and even murder – Jo Cox MP (at the height of Brexit fever in 2016) and Sir David Amess MP (in 2021).

The nastiness keeps many good people out of politics. Ultimately it isn’t for the greatest good of the country if the only people willing to stand for Parliament are those with the hide of a rhinoceros (or those who can afford to – but that’s a topic for another day). We need to draw on the widest and most diverse pool of talent.

I’d like to see the Nolan Principles of Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership lived out every day, and enshrined in our country’s governance at every level.

This may be my idealism showing, but I’m more interested in positive policies than in politicking and potshots. Our dysfunctional democracy needs a reset, a clear signal to the great many disillusioned voters that we’re making a fresh start.

Proportional representation would, I believe, send that clear signal – a voting system that is fair and inclusive, combined with decentralisation of power, allowing communities to have much more say in the decisions that affect their lives.

I believe that change is coming, and I trust I will be in a position to help bring it into reality.

Other News

Sadly Rishi’s surprise announcement scuppered our plans for the summer garden party/fundraiser at the home of Jackie Llewelyn Bowen. Under the strict laws on campaign finance, we would have had to declare the value of all donated services, auction prizes, etc. against our tightly-capped budget. If you’d bought tickets, you should have had an email from us about refunds – if not, please check your spam folder.

Campaign Notes

To keep up to date with me and my campaign, please follow me on Facebook. Or on LinkedIn, if that’s more your style. I’m also now regularly posting videos on Instagram, with information on the logistics of voting (especially helpful for first-time voters), Lib Dem pledges, and my own personal views on current affairs.

We’re always keen to welcome more campaigners to our team to help with deliveries and/or doorknocking. Please consider lending us an hour or two a month. Email my wonderful Campaign Organiser, Poppy Fair, for more details.

We are also looking for financial support. Every pound matters – even the price of a weekly latte would help. If you’re ready for positive change in the South Cotswolds, please put your money where your mouth is by hitting Reply to this email, and I’ll let you know how. Thank you! 🙏

Quote of the Week

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.”
— Laurence Sterne

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