Lib Dems fail geography

A new year in Rugby was heralded by a new leaflet from our friendly local Lib Dem councillors. The Eastlands edition is full of self back-slapping stories about how they have been fighting crime (ahem – finding a bunch of discarded needles is not the same thing as actually removing  a drugs problem, it’s just noticing one after the fact).

One bit was about how they had acted after complaints from Braids Close about youths hanging around the old College site. The confusing thing about that is that Braids Close is not next to the old College. It’s not even in Eastlands (it’s on the north of the railway off of Ridge Drive). The road name was not only used in the text, but in a photo caption as well.

It’s not obvious whether they meant Brodie Close (part of the new development alongside the college site, off Hopps Lodge Drive), or Bronte Close (behind the college site and where some of the garages are). Maybe they meant a different road completely.

Along with trying to get some of the glory from Operation Laser (which is part of a national programme and was run by the police) it’s a lovely puff piece but not much more. As per usual, they do the trick of telling you what other people have done (the College, the Police, a bus company) and claiming that it was only through their councillors that anything happened.

Much of what they do in their ‘Focus’ leaflets is to trail stuff that the councils and other agencies are about to do (that they find out about as councillors) and then pretend that it was originated by them. An example was the recent checks on bridges over the old Great Central railway cutting. It’s effective and what the party does all over the country. Whether it will save them from the meltdown that the coalition with the Tories is going to cause will be interesting to see.

Still, it would come across better if they actually knew the name of the roads where people complaining to them lived.

Buses, carers, libraries, youth centres… cut cut cut

The Tories around here really are getting into their stride:

Rural and evening bus services are going to be slashed, thanks to the County Council halving the money they provide. All kinds of people will be affected all over Rugby and the surrounding villages.

At the setting of the Council budget last month, the Tories at Rugby Town Hall claimed that services would be protected and the impact of their changes would be very low. Tell that to the people reliant on Crossroads, which provides respite care for the elderly – the couple in that linked story are also going to lose out with the closure of Abbotsbury care home in Hillmorton.

Consultations are ongoing over which small libraries are going to be closed, and whether to reduce hours at others.

I am also finding out that the County Council is opening consultations on the closure and transfer of many of the county’s youth centres. Hill Street, Fareham Road, Brownsover, Dunchurch and Binley Woods Youth Centres are all under review. Wolston is recommended for closure.

I can see that these cuts are likely to disproportionally affect the most vulnerable – the young, the old, the ill, the poor.

The Tories gleefully wield the knife, and the Lib Dems are backing them (while at the same time crying tears over each local cut in case it costs them votes).

What Clegg should have said

The cuddly yellow Liberal Democrats, darlings in the eyes of the public a mere year ago, held their first Spring Conference since being in government. Clearly they are stung by accusations that they have betrayed the electorate by saying that they would oppose early and fast cuts in spending and that they would oppose increases to tuition fees, only to support early and fast spending cuts and to have Vince Cable propose tuition fees at double to treble the current rate. I mean, it’s not like they meant any of their promises, they weren’t expecting to have to come through with anything. So Clegg, attempting to sell the virtues of a ‘mollifying’ Lib Dem presence said the following in his keynote:

“Would a Government without Liberal Democrats have ended child detention? Got an extra ten billion out of the banks? Would it have held a referendum on the voting system? Or put up capital gains tax? Ordered an inquiry into torture? Brought in a pupil premium? Or replaced Control Orders? Would a Government without Liberal Democrats have cut taxes for the poorest?
I don’t think so.”

I bet that raised a hearty cheer. But before cheering it, let us go through this passage bit by bit (it’s been a while since I did a proper Fisk) and see how true it really rings: Read the rest of this entry »

To Craig Humphrey: An apology and a warning

In a recent post, I made a mistake. It’s something I should have known not to do, but for some reason I thought perhaps things might be different in Rugby from Crawley. My mistake? To take a Lib Dem at face value.

Thankfully, Ish has shown me the error. You see, I read a letter in the Rugby Advertiser in which Cllr Neil Sandison says (amongst other things) that Craig Humphrey had suggested to the Boundary Commission that the next Borough Elections, due in May 2011, be suspended.

What Cllr Sandison did not say was where the suggestion had actually originally come from. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s called a coup

This week’s Advertiser had another batch of letters about the Craig Humphrey affair. One was in his favour, the rest were critical. By far the most revealing was that from Neil Sandison, who is a Lib Dem councillor for Eastlands. As well as being unhappy about the total lack of decent response to the public outcry at last week’s meeting, he had some points that leave me very, very concerned. Read the rest of this entry »

Lib Dems in play confusion

The latest copy of the Rugby Observer featured two stories about play areas on page 9.

One was a story about a group of youngsters who have organised a petition to call for improvements to the play area in Rokeby, on the corner of Southbrook Road and Belmont Road. This was encouraged by the Hillside and Rokeby Community Association (HARCA).The petition was handed it to Sue Roodhouse, a local Liberal Democrat councillor and also a member of HARCA. She is shown posing for a photo opportunity with the kids.

The second story is about how Government cuts announced this week will mean that existing schemes to improve the provision of play areas in Rugby have been scrapped – including a project at Parkfield Road in Newbold.

Local Lib Dems are going to have to be a bit careful nowadays. It’s easy to whip up a little local campaign, but it doesn’t look so good when it’s doomed to failure by the same party’s coalition government, does it?

Posted in Politics. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

Clegg – liar liar, pants on fire

He’s not having a good time of it, is he? There’s been the whole Forgemasters debacle, where he supported the cancellation of a loan that has caused damage to his own constituents in Sheffield. To make that worse, he was disingenuous about the reasons for his support. He claimed that the directors wouldn’t agree to dilute their shareholdings, until proof came that they had agreed. He said the money wasn’t there, until proof came out that the Treasury had the money. He claimed it was done in the wrong manner, before proof came out that the civil servants had signed off the loan as being all above board.

When he ran out of excuses he ended up bumbling at the Despatch Box and calling the whole point of Prime Minister’s Questions into question (it’s not there for the personal opinions of the PM or whoever is deputising, it’s there to provide answers from the Government as a whole). One thing we do know is that a businessman from the area, who wanted to do a deal with Forgemasters before the loan came along and who and donated a large amount of money to the Tories before the election, wrote a letter to ask that the loan be cancelled.

And now he’s in a new pickle. Before the election, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg were telling voters that cutting spending too early was dangerous. “Economic masochism” he called it. But after the election, he went along with deep and immediate cuts.

For some time he was telling us that the situation had changed and things were worse than he’d thought. Yet figures that came out in June showed that the deficit was lower than expected, and we now know that economic growth was higher. He claimed that Mervyn King had a chat with him and that had changed his mind as a result of dire new information and advice from the head of the Bank of England. But Mr King has since stated that he didn’t tell Clegg anything in private that he hadn’t earlier said at a press conference that was widely reported.

Now it seems that Clegg actually changed his mind some time during the election campaign. Which means (if we can take his latest story at face value), that he spent at least some of the time lying to voters – telling them that he would oppose something that he actually secretly supported.

It’s odd, at the very time he was being hailed as a breath of fresh air, as the ‘honest’ man among the three main leaders during the televised debates, it seems that he didn’t believe what he was saying to the electorate. He was at the height of popularity in late April, and by the end of July he’s been revealed as being utterly shallow.

Meanwhile, our PM is doing a tour of countries, each of which sees him pander to their views by using undiplomatic terms to describe their rivals, leading to at the very least a lot of muttering in Israel and Pakistan.

And we’ve got another four years and nine months of this?