Saturday, August 07, 2004

Why do LibDems never say they’re sorry?

I had a very interesting telephone conversation with an old school friend today and, as it tends to, the conversation turns to politics and in particular the recent London Mayoral Elections. My friend, who is a small-c-conservative, is one of a faithful band that I can rely on from my old sixth form class to always vote for the blues. Imagine my surprise she declared that she had voted for Simon Hughes, the failed Lib Dem candidate, and felt very angry because of it. Well, I said, I’d feel angry if I’d voted for Hughes too (unlikely that I would ever do so, as a Norwich resident I don’t actually have a vote in the London Mayoral Elections). However, my friend falls into a big category of people that always vote but pay very little attention to what is going on in politics. She told me that she had received Lib Dem leaflets bearing the slogan: “Only Simon Hughes can beat Ken Livingstone” (or similar, we all know them!) and had believed it. She really wanted Ken out of power and so would vote for anybody who stood the faintest hope of unseating him. Fooled by the LibDem hype (which they try in every election - ever), she duly voted for the man she thought would oust Ken. Then the result came in – Conservative Steve Norris runs second to Ken in a close contest, with Simon Hughes miles behind in third place. My friend was furious that she was tricked and should have voted for Norris. How many more people, she asked, fell for this “con trick” (her words)? The result in London gave away the LibDem lie that they are always best placed to beat Labour. Having only now bothered to check previous results which showed the LibDems always get crushed in London, my friend telephoned LibDem HQ to demand an apology – only be told that Simon Hughes was the only man to beat Ken … if only the voters had voted the way they should have. The moral, I said, was never to believe the LibDems when they claim to be the “only party to beat Labour” or “it’s so close”, because in elections anything could happen - it's down t the voters. In fact, I said, always vote according to what you believe. Just out of interest, did they say sorry, I asked? Don’t hold your breath…

No comments: