“Lib Dems insulting the intelligence of Somerset residents isn’t anything new” Labour goes on the offensive in South Somerset

lib dim newsGiven their skyrocketing unpopularity in government with the Conservatives, the Lib Dems will unsurprisingly spend County Election season frantically trying to distance themselves from their coalition partners.

In Somerset especially, the Lib Dem spin-machine will be running at full tilt. Losing County Hall to the Tories was a huge blow four years ago, and the Liberals are now desperate to wrest it back to rejuvenate their flagging fortunes as Labour stages a determined come-back.

Somerset needs a political turnaround

There’s no doubt that Somerset urgently needs a political turnaround. County residents have been hit by eye-watering cutbacks to vital council services. Not only do rural councils face bigger reductions in central government grants than urban ones, the services lost as a result are crucially important to the wellbeing of often isolated communities. But local Tories have obediently followed the national Cameron-Osborne agenda, shredding welfare budgets in a bid to make average earners, the elderly, disabled people and the poorest pay for an economic crisis caused by some of society’s wealthiest.

For the Lib Dems, success or failure will ride on how well they can convince people that they would deliver that turnaround. The facts certainly suggest otherwise – without Lib Dems in Westminster whole-heartedly signing up to Tory-brand economic vandalism, Cameron’s slash and burn austerity drive wouldn’t have got off the ground.

Labour offers a genuine,viable alternative

Yeovil team
Yeovil Labour candidates. Sue Pitman (Yeovil West) Terry Lavin (Yeovil central) Bill Byrd (Chard South) Terry Ledlie (Yeovil South) Sharon Stafford (Yeovil East). -Front:- Graham Forsyth (Chard North) Dan Marks (Brympton) Joe Conway (Crewkerne) Martin Bailey (South Petherton) Murray Shepstone (Coker)

But regardless, from now until May, Somerset’s Liberals will try and persuade voters county-wide that they offer a serious alternative to policies they helped bring about. In leaflets and on doorsteps county-wide, expect them to conveniently forget their part in bringing about the most savage attack on local government funding seen in recent memory.

Lib Dems insulting the intelligence of Somerset residents isn’t anything new. For over a decade they’ve taken their support base in the south of the county for granted, and it’s here that Labour offers a genuine, viable alternative for those who feel disillusioned with the Clegg-led Liberals’ conduct in power.

Long Gone Paddy

When the Lib Dems first appeared on the scene, a result of a merger between the small, flagging SDP and the equally small and flagging Liberal Party, they were led by Paddy Ashdown, then Yeovil’s MP. Now, though, the party’s Ashdown-helmed salad days are very far behind them. Paddy himself is long gone, and Yeovil has David Laws, the Tory-Lite Lib Dem who was instrumental in bringing about the Con-Dem coalition.

Now, even with that Tory-Liberal pact causing misery across county and country, Yeovil’s Lib Dems continue to assume that local voters will just roll over and support them come May the 2nd. Labour is determined to prove them wrong, and its candidates, one for every County Council ward in South Somerset, are real contenders at a time when Lib Dem policies are making life harder for the majority.

Terry Ledlie
Terry Ledlie (Yeovil South) “Labour can deliver “

Postie candidate says “Labour can deliver”

In Yeovil South, for example, sitting Lib Dem Cllr David Green is facing a challenge from an unexpected source – his postman. Terry Ledlie, postal worker and Communication Workers Union rep, was inspired to take a stand against reckless ‘austerity’ shortly after the Coalition formed in 2010, fearing that the cuts juggernaut would ruin the country his two young children would grow up in.

Terry joined the Labour Party hoping to help defend the NHS and welfare state from a Tory Party apparently hell-bent on their destruction, and is standing in the County Elections for the same reasons. But living in Lib Dem country has left him under no illusions about the Conservatives’ friends in yellow rosettes: “a vote for the Liberal Democrats will not keep out the Tories. They’re both in it together, and are jointly responsible for cutting vital services and ruining what is left of Yeovil. A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for cuts to libraries, bus services, and just about every other council service you can think of. To sit back and ignore what is happening just isn’t right.”

Like Labour’s candidates across south Somerset, and across the county as a whole, Terry wants to show local people that there is an alternative to the austerity parties, and one with a real chance of winning this time at that. On May 2nd, there’s only one choice you can make to get the urgent political turnaround Somerset needs, and that’s a vote for Labour.


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murray shepstone
murray shepstone
11 years ago

I hope this item has been used as a press statement to the Western Gazette and not just left on the web site

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