in Politics

The saddest part of the campaign…

This time tomorrow I’ll be running around like mad working for a Conservative victory, locally and nationally.

And hopefully the result will reflect the months and years of hard work the Conservatives have put into Battersea and Wandsworth, both administratively running an excellent council and politically, campaigning to hold Putney and gain Battersea and Tooting. It’s been a hard campaign, but the response on the doorstep has been friendly and positive.

But for me the saddest part was finding some people who are not voting Labour. Quite an odd thing to say, perhaps, but let me explain.

I am from a Labour family, my father was a docker and my mother worked on a factory line. Perhaps I’m a class traitor, that’s for others to judge, but growing up in the 80s I saw my working class family doing better under the Conservatives. The horror stories of the 80s put about by Labour that I hear now bear no relevance to my life whatsoever. I’m not saying things were easy, but I could see how they were getting better, and I could see how the left were about holding things back rather than moving forward.

But while those formative years left me thinking that just following the traditional Labour line was wrong, I still had respect for the Labour party. It was my father’s party, my mother’s party. We disagreed, but we respected each other’s views.

So when I was knocking on doors in the Shaftesbury Estate and talking to elderly voters telling me they were not voting I was saddened. When we talked further I discovered that they had been lifelong Labour voters. Most could remember the war and Clement Attlee even if they hadn’t been old enough to vote for him. These were people who had the Labour movement in their blood.

But they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Gordon Brown.

And that, to me, is horrifying – Labour have let them down so badly they are breaking the habit of a lifetime and staying at home rather than voting. I can think of no greater condemnation of the prime minister and his government.

What’s worst is that lacking any alternative Labour now peddle fear, trying anything to stop someone else winning. It really is politics at its worst.

The Conservatives offer an alternative. It will be hard, and there are tough decisions to be made. But we want to involve everyone, we want to give everyone the opportunity to help make their neighbourhoods better, whether by hosting a street party, running a neighbourhood watch or starting a new school. We want to reward responsibility, but will hold those who fail to meet their responsibility to account. We want to foster our communities, helping businesses and individuals take pride in their areas and get along with their neighbours. And we will provide value, making sure that your money is spent efficiently and effectively.

Tomorrow is about whether you want start again with an ambitious vision, or want to listen to fear and let that be the foundation of five more years of Labour.

I’m choosing hope and voting Conservative.

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