It’s been a tough week to be a LibDem: Oakeshott and Cable, Rennard and Clegg. And all those demoralising election results, locally and in Europe. GILL HICKSON was one Liberal Democrat candidate who was unsuccessful in the Croydon Council elections last week, yet tomorrow she will be holding her regular Coulsdon surgery. Here, she explains why
They say a week is a long time in politics. It feels very long when you are on the receiving end of the sort of kicking we’ve just had.
I firmly believe that local politics should be “is this person interested in this area?”, “what have they been doing locally?”, “have they got the wherewithal to fight for the area?”…
Despite my being able to answer these questions with positive things, such as being a parent-governor at the local school where I sent my daughter, that I’d volunteered for a year at that school, or joined the committee of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association, or became the co-ordinator for neighbourhood watch and have fought for better police resources, that I supported the petition for more parking on Tollers Estate, and helped individuals with problems with the council.
But then along comes a guy from UKIP who wasn’t seen before, during or after the election campaign. You spend weeks, months, knocking on doors, delivering leaflets that spell out what you will do for the area. He puts out one flyer, which was presumably delivered by the cheap European labour which UKIP claim to abhor so much.
I’m not bitter. But I am shocked.
We tried to offer a real alternative to the usual Tory councillors following the party line: “No we haven’t got money for that.” Only for new offices, new furniture, new IT, and the £25 Council Tax bribes.
We did have concerns about national ratings. Some residents expressed concerns at the LibDems “selling out” to the Tories for a taste of power. What was Nick to do? In 2010, the western world was on its knees financially. We could have had a hung parliament and disagreed with every measure the Tories had for economic recovery. Instead, the LibDems joined in coalition and have made some great contributions, taking thousands out of paying tax, the pupil premium, the retirement pension reforms, apprenticeships…
Did we sacrifice the party to save the country?
Without much press support its very hard to get our message across, which is why we always have to work so much harder than other parties. We have some great members and supporters. Maybe we don’t shout loud enough.
We will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start all over again. Was at a residents’ association meeting on Wednesday night, and one of the newly elected councillors did turn up, attending for the first time. Meanwhile, we have our regular LibDem surgery on Saturday, with a plant, book and cake sale. We have to pay for all those leaflets somehow. Life does go on. We will continue to work for our town and we will continue to scrutinise the council and make sure it does its best for all the residents.
Coming to Croydon
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Junction Road Big Lunch, June 1
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 7
- Crystal Palace Transition Town annual meeting, June 11
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 11
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Croydon Green Fair, North End, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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