Sunday, July 02, 2006

Conservative Arrogance

Here in Wales, the events at Blaenau Gwent have overshadowed the Bromley & Chislehurst by-election. While the Tories just managed to hold onto their 17th safest seat, their majority was slashed by a staggering 11%.

Ben Abbotts (pictured left) of the Liberal Democrats increased the party’s share of the vote by some 17%, achieving a 14% swing from the Tories and a massive 16% swing from Labour and coming within a mere 633 votes of taking this safest of Tory seats. The Labour Party support in this Constituency almost evaporated, pushing them into fourth place behind UKIP. They managed to poll a mere 1,925 votes!

In the most elaborate show of arrogance, the successful Conservative candidate, Bob Neil delivered this scathing and bitter attack on the Liberal Democrats:

“If you sometimes wonder why it is that people are turned off by politics, get a mirror and look at yourselves.”

This just goes to show, how out of touch the Conservative party is. People are turned off by politics because they feel that the politicians are not listening to their views, opinions and concerns. It is also clear that the Liberal Democrats are the party that these disenchanted voters are turning to in the hope of making a difference. For Bob Neil to deliver such vile rhetoric is to further disenchant the electorate and, in a split-second show of arrogance, completely dismiss the hopes and expectations of the 10,988 constituents who voted Liberal Democrat. Just to set the record straight, that’s 10,988 Lib Dem voters who Bob Neil now represents.

Ben Abbotts said:

“This was a campaign in which the Conservative Party tried to take the support of local people for granted - Bromley and Chislehurst was the seventeenth safest Conservative seat in the whole country at the last General Election………Tonight's result has been far from convincing for the Conservatives, and it is clear that Labour has lost the trust of its former supporters. This result shows that as Labour lose support nationally - it is the Liberal Democrats to whom people are turning.”

1 comment:

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats said...

Let us be clear about the so-called "personal attacks" which Bob Neill accused Liberal Democrats of making.

They were not tabloid-style exposés of his private life. They went directly to the political debate.

It was pointed out that Neill lived in Tower Hamlets, well outside the constituency, and showed no intention of moving to the Bromley area. In view of the fact that Conservative publicity claimed him as a local man, this was surely a reasonable correction.

It was surely a matter of public duty, never mind political debate, to draw the voters' attention to Mr Neill's membership of the North
East London Strategic Health Authority, a position that explicitly prevents him standing for Parliament under the House of Commons Disqualification Act of 1975.

It has been argued in Neill's defence that the NELSHA is about to be abolished, and that he was ready to resign his position on election. However, we understood that he had already applied to join the successor body, which was subject to the same electoral restriction. More seriously, in order to stand in the Bromley & Chiselhurst by-election, Neill signed a declaration on his nomination form stating that he was not in breach of the House of Commons Disqualification Act of 1975 “at the time of nomination”.

Mr Neill is also a Greater London Assembly Member, and it was an open question whether he would continue on this body on his election to the House of Commons.

- Frank Little