One of the reasons I am not joining the very earnest people signing the letter calling for Nick Clegg to stand down, is that during the last few months I have been very impressed indeed by his leadership of the party.
His speech to the York conference had me enthralled. I am very proud indeed of his positive stance towards the EU and the way he took on the extremist views of Nigel Farage.
So I am currently in a mood to support Nick Clegg to the hilt.
Politics is occasionally about following your principles and doing what is right, even if you risk unpopularity by doing so.
So I say very well done indeed to Nick Clegg for taking a positive stance on Europe. It has taken cojones and he’s taken hits on the chin for it. But he is right and I fully support his courageous stance.
We’re told people are “angry” and have therefore voted for UKIP. We cannot and will not pander to extremism. I salute Nick Clegg’s leadership in this regard.
Former Councillor Wera Hobhouse from Rochdale has written very powerfully on this aspect. A taster follows and you can read Wera’s blog post in full here.
I am no longer a councillor after 10 years because we are moving away from Rochdale and I didn’t stand.
There are some things you are not meant to say when you are an elected representative because it is bad taste to have a go at your electorate. You are meant to listen.. even to rubbish!
But I cannot stand any longer those I see on screen and hear on radio, who nod and look concerned and say they have to listen more to the people and do more about addressing their anger.
So the people are angry. What exactly are they angry about?
That we live in a global competitive world where people can travel and chose where they work if they are lucky and wealthy enough?
Angry that there are people out there who are keener to work than some of us?
Angry that we in Britain are so lucky and wealthy that millions of people pay huge personal sacrifices to come here and take up work that most British people are too snooty about to take up?
Angry that even in Europe there are millions of people who live well below the poverty line so they come to improve their lot?
Angry that we are so much better off than most people in most other parts of the world? (we should be angry that there are desperate people being smuggled into this country on a daily basis to work as quasi slaves. Apparently many popular nail bars are run by gangs who bring in girls illegally from East Asia, who sleep on the floor at the back of the shop. Any ‘angry voter’ ever asked that question when they had a bit of ‘Me’ time and got their nails done.)
Angry that once ‘Britannia ruled the world’, which means that this country has a long history of ethnic diversity?
When I have asked people on the door step which job they did not get because of somebody from Eastern Europe or which house they were not given because of a family from an ethnic minority – there was silence. (Or they ‘didn’t want to discuss this with me on the door step’.)
When I asked – in response to the claim that this country was ruled by Europe and needed to be master of his own destiny again- what exactly would be different and what were the laws from Europe that so oppressed this country- there was silence.
When I was told that all political parties ‘needed a kicking’ and I asked whether s/he could be more specific, what kicking and what for- there was silence.
When I pointed out that voting for a party with no particular record of achievement apart from not turning up at meetings in the European Parliament was not going to change much – guess what: the angry voter did not want to listen!
When I went on to say that voting for a party which had one simple answer (leave the EU; get rid of immigration) to all the problems in this world and it would probably end in tears and some years down the line the angry person would still be angry because s/he felt deceived by all politicians- what happened: the angry voter was getting angrier but still did not listen.
A lot of ‘angry’ people are spoiled and selfish who do not want to share in the wealth of our country. They don’t give two straws about the real poverty and real inequalities in this world. They have a diffuse frustration about their own lot in life and some misplaced idea about how wealthy and fortunate they would be if only there wasn’t such a thing called Europe and the people coming from it. (Never mind about the rest of the world ; first things first)
And they are wrong.