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Labour can challenge empty rhetoric on Kingston Council

Below, Kingston and Surbiton Labour parliamentary candidate in 2017, Laurie South, reflects on another two Lib Dem leaflets he has received last week, and how, as a local party, they contrast to a Labour Party who will challenge empty rhetoric on Kingston Council.

I received two leaflets from the Liberal Democrats last week, both purportedly about the Borough elections in May. Neither of the leaflets had a single word about a Liberal Democrat vision for Kingston. They appear to be proposing that you vote for a vision and policy vacuum.

One leaflet was all about how you voted in borough elections 4 years ago. This from a party that has over 800 per cent more unelected party hacks in the Lords than it has elected MPs in the Commons. If you want a lordship, knighthood or honour, join the Liberal Democrats: if you want to be elected, join another political party!

In Kingston there have only been a few council seats separating the Tories from the Liberal Democrats. What an ideal time to vote in some Labour councillors to hold the balance of power. After all the Liberal Democrats in their 12 years did nothing until they were forced to act. They even handled children’s services so incompetently that they had to give them to Achieving for Children and take them out of democratic control. The Tories, on the other hand, want Kingston to become a building site. The Liberal Democrats have spent four unsuccessful years in opposition trying to prove that the Tory council leader has secret deals with developers, instead of putting forward ideas to help Kingston.The leaflet claims that only the Liberal Democrats can save public services. Well, while in the coalition (with the local MP in the cabinet) they voted to take away 40 per cent of Kingston Council’s government grant. And now they claim they will save council services? Show us the detail Liberal Democrats. Show us the detail.

The other leaflet claimed that two ward councillors were working hard to stop Kingston Hospital from charging a parking fee to blue badge holders. A worthy cause but what did they actually do? Did they go and see the Hospital’s chief executive like Labour councillors? I don’t think so. Did they even write to her? It appears not. Did they take the matter up through the elected governing council of Kingston Hospital? While Labour councillors were briefing the elected governors and spoke at the governing council, where were the Liberal Democrats? Did the Liberal Democrats work with the local disability organisations which were organising petitions and lobbying? I don’t think so. Did the Liberal Democrats make one enormous song and dance at the Health Overview Panel where council and hospital interact? Hardly a squeak, and then not by the councillors who claimed to be working so hard on the issue. What have the Liberal Democrats done? Organised a petition outside the rest of the community. What are they going to do with this petition? We have no idea. Contrast this with the work of Labour councillors

It’s one thing to claim to work hard on leaflet after leaflet, but voters are beginning to say “Justify that statement. Show us what you have actually done. Words on a leaflet butter no parsnips.”

What better time to elect Labour councillors to hold the balance of power and to hold either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats to account, challenging empty rhetoric, policy indolence, and taking Kingston where the electorate want it to go?

Laurie South

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