Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Butter Wouldn't Melt

This morning has seen seen Charles Kennedy electioneering in Michael Howard's seat of Folkestone & Hythe, where his 6,000 majority could be vulnerable if Labour voters vote tactically. By voting Lib Dem here, Labour voters would actually be closing all the doors of Number 10 to Michael Howard. In fact, they'd be closing the door of the House of Parliament to him. How do you like that, Tony? What happened to the back door theory?

My favourite part of all this, however, is the fact that Tories are getting all indignant about it. Theresa May on the Daily Politics called out her disgust at the Lib Dems for targeting a party leader - it was unheard of in Britain!

As I've said before, if we've been dealt this pathetic electoral system, then don't be surprised if we try to use it to cause a little upset. It's a bit rich for the Tories now to complain if their leader is vulnerable. After all, they don't want to change the electoral system. So in that case, why should leaders not have to fight an election just like everyone else?

What's amusing is the fact that had Tony Blair been sitting on a 1-5,000 majority with the Tories in 2nd, I have no absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Michael Howard would be in Sedgefield every day rallying for voters to switch and Lib Dems to vote tactically to rid the country of Blair. They're only complaining now because they're on the receiving end, and they are clearly at risk. There is much talk of a rising tidal wave of orange seeping over Folkestone, but it would surely be too much of a majority to turn over... but it could end up a mighty close thing. Yet another key marginal to watch carefully.

I also would like to further add my disgust at the lie - and yes, this one is a genuine lie - told by Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford, on yesterday's Daily Politics.

The usual story came out of Blair's mouthpiece, that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to allow the Tories to slip to victory and an overall majority without even trying. Quite apart from the fact that this has been dismissed again and again, simply because the Tories are polling such low figures, Nick went on to warn the voters of Bristol West that by voting Lib Dem there they will let in a Tory via the back door.

Ever suspicious of this kind of spin, I decided to check the numbers. I do accept that in a seat where the Lib Dems are far behind, and Labour/Tory have just a few thousand between them, it is possible that a Labour voter switching to the Lib Dems will give a Tory win. But Bristol West is very different:

LAB: 20,000; LD: 16,000; TORY: 16,000

In this case, a Labour voter switching to a Lib Dem will quite clearly be contributing to bringing about a Lib Dem victory. There is no other way of arguing this one. A blatant lie from the minister, and malicious scaremongering once more. As usual, it's the typical whinge that Blair is worried his majority is going to be pegged back, so seats like this must be secured for Labour.

Perhaps Blair thinks he will struggle with under 100 majority. It is an intriguing thought that none of us knows how he will react when faced with more unfavourable parliamentary circumstances. All the more reason to try to bring it about for him...


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