Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Medway Libdems are far from dead

One of my all time favourite Movies of all time is Das Boot. It is truly an epic view of the effects of war and stress on the human condition. One such scene involves the U-96 laying on a sand bank off Gibraltar with no engines, no power... dead.

Which brings me handily to this.

Councillor Osborne's latest post featuring predictions of Labour's ultimate victory in 2015 and 2019 has the following sentence, as well as a descriptive paragraph to back up his claim;

Let's be generous; The 'Medway' Lib Dems are the equivalent of a quivering corpse. - Just like the U-96

It is an interesting suggestion that the Libdems are dying. If one were to talk to Cllr Juby, Tony Jeacock (our Chair) Garry Harrison, (vice chair), myself or many of the others we would all tell you that we're not dead yet. Indeed far from it.

Of course we would say that being Exec officers... so lets look at some facts!
I'm not going to lie, I understand 2010 was a difficult year with the Libdem vs. Independent split and both sides are responsible for some nastiness and lost us Cllrs Ruparel (retired) and Sutton (lost in 2011 election) but as I became active in February 2011 I cannot really comment further. All I can say really is that was the past and things have moved on in two years.

Electorally we suffered in 2011, I watched the results come in and the looks on faces. We didn't lose seats because of our actions locally though. This was clear from the results that hit the whole country as local Libdem councillors paid the price for National politics and the Tuition fees debacle. Indeed the Labour candidate for Gillingham South (the now Cllr Coleman) who beat Steve Kearney hardly campaigned and didn't bother turning up to the count as it was a foregone conclusion that we would hold Gillingham South.  There were not that many votes in that Labour victory, and Tony Jeacock who stood for Watling Ward lost
out to the Conservatives by all of 29 votes.
Interestingly despite the cuts and their lead in the Coalition, including the Tuition fees, as well as local bungling, it was the Conservatives who did very well. Labour failed to capitalise on a golden opportunity in the Medway towns, an opportunity not missed in Newcastle and Sheffield where the Libdems lost most of their Council seats. Perhaps Medway Labour need to look at their own campaigns.

As the U-96 lay prostrate upon the sandbank the crew turned to one man, the Captain (played by Jurgen Prochnow). The Captain, with his first officer, rallied the men and got them working as a team that saw the U-boat's engines fixed and ballast blown to get her to the surface.

Unlike Cllr Osborne's claim, our local leadership are far from incompetent. Councillor Juby has led the Council group well for years and continues to have the backing of the Executive committee and the Council group. The Executive committee, voted in at the end of last year, have worked hard at addressing issues both internal and within Medway. The only way is up and onwards with the hard work and passion that is within us all and well directed by Tony and Geoff. What people forget is the party has been "dead" before. After the Lloyd George-Asquith Split that devastated the post war party and the gradual decline from 1920 to the 1950's but we came back. We offer a responsible opposition, working with the Conservative Council to try and dull the cuts and protect those in real need rather than fighting every decision.

All Liberal Democrats have leaned from the Tuition fee problem, that is to be careful what you promise. Cllr Osborne is correct, Labour aren't in power nor hold responsibility so they can press the Tories hard but at the same time they're writing cheques that they one day may be asked to pay back and if/when they get in power they'll find it is impossible to keep all of them.

The Libdems are far from dead in the water, although I am not part of the planning section for 2015 or even 19(!) I can't say what will happen, even if I could it would be incredibly moronic to do so. I can say that we're not targeting Labour seats exclusively which is what Cllr Osborne is implying, that would be ludicrously stupid! What I can say is that a good and varied campaign will be fought and we will not be wiped of the map. Voting Liberal Democrat is far from a wasted vote, the party is far from dead and one could consider the posturing and down playing of the local party as nothing more than trying to make Labour better and the only choice which of course is Balderdash.
Our Councillors and Activists are working hard in all directions including Constituent issues for current and future (possibly) areas.

As the U-96 cruised back for France they passed the Royal Navy yard at Gibraltar and the Captain pointed out their enemies were already toasting the U-boat's destruction and were enjoying the Casinos and bars rather than watching for their survival in a similar way that we are being written off by commentators like Cllr Osborne.  I agree with the Captain's comment at the time and will hold on to it until 2015;

Not yet Kommeraden! Not yet!!!!

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