Like many people, Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party took Theresa May as a woman of her word and believed her when she said, seven or eight times, that there would be no general election until 2020. May’s announcement of a snap general election took everyone by surprise, including most of her own Party, which does not have a manifesto yet, nor candidates for every seat either.
Be assured, there will be a Labour candidate in Kingston & Surbiton. The process for selection is in train and an announcement will be made early in May.
There is a small group asking whether there should be a tactical vote in Kingston to ensure the Tory does not get in. What it amounts to is asking the Labour Party to encourage its supporters to vote for the Liberal Democrats.
Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party gives an emphatic “NO” to the idea of tactical voting here.
The Liberal Democrats are fielding a candidate who previously promised that a vote for him would be a vote against the Tories. He then joined with his party in forming a coalition with the Tories and became a cabinet minister in the coalition voting through items like:
- an economic austerity policy that makes the poor poorer and increases the national debt:
- the bedroom tax – reducing benefits for anyone with an extra bedroom
- the Health & Social Care Act leading to huge privatisation in the NHS
The list could go on. And on.
And this man wants us to vote for him to keep the Tories out. Really! What an insult to the Kingston & Surbiton electorate.
But there are other reasons not to vote tactically.
There are very few seats where the Liberal Democrats came second in 2015 with less than 10 per cent of the votes cast between their candidate and the successfully elected MP. Assuming the Liberal Democrats hold the 9 seats where they had a majority in 2015 (and the one in 2016), the number of seats they might just win, if, and it’s a big if, everything goes in their favour is very small. If lucky they are might just have half the number of Scottish Nationalists MPs. This is hardly a Parliamentary force. It’s more of a delay in the cake queue in the House of Commons tea rooms.
But what will they do with this handful of MPs?
If the outcome of the 2017 General Election is close-run, then can we really trust the Liberal Democrats? They are very likely to join the Tories in a new coalition. They did it before.
Liberal Democrats have made it clear they do not want to join Labour in demanding a different direction in government and society. In fact, it is difficult to discern any policies in their leaflets: they seem to be emulating Tory policies, with only the sharpest, most vicious corners filed off.
If you want to see:
- a more rationale economic policy that focuses on growth and spreads the benefits of a burgeoning economy to all not just the few
- investment in infra-structure to create jobs and a strong economy:
- negotiations with the EU that put the economy and jobs first
- a society where foodbanks disappear because everyone receives a living wage:
- bank holidays on a par with similar economies so families and friends can enjoy time together
- a growth in the number of council houses and affordable homes:
- a properly funded NHS and education system catering for everyone:
- a community where zero-hours contract are a thing of the past and everyone has a wage they can live on
then the only option is to vote Labour.
You really will not see these changes by voting for the Liberal Democrats and you certainly won’t get them by voting Tory.
If you share Labour’s aspiration for a better, fairer more decent society you must put your vote where your vision for your family, your children and your grandchildren lies.
Laurie South, Kingston and Surbiton CLP Chair