We had a great AGM on Thursday. Attendance was good despite the cold weather and several local residents also joined us at the Bunbury Village Pavillion.
Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords was our Guest Speaker
After the formal AGM business was completed and new Executive was elected Dick gave us a fantastic insight into the crisis in our Public Services and of course Brexit.
The main themes that came across were that it is clear that Brexit is consuming almost all the bandwidth at the centre of Politics and Government. Its distracting attention resources and money from so many other issues in the country that need urgent attention.Our public services are in a very real crisis and intergenerational inequality is increasing it’s clear that Brexit can be stopped but it will be hard to do. Despite an unfolding crisis, public opinion is not (yet) shifting so we must redouble of efforts as an effective local campaigning force on the issue.
We had a lively Q&A session to finish off with great questions from members and residents on the NHS, Prisons, and Brexit.
We’re looking forward to another busy year campaigning hard locally and getting ready for the 2019 local elections in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Cheshire. Our membership is growing and our finances are healthy we are optimistic about our prospects in 2018.
Our Membership Officer Keith Hinde receives the North West Liberal Democrats Presidents Award from our guest speaker Dick Newby,
Richard Dawson – EWV Liberal Democrats Exec Member
I have just been reading comments from some of our worthy members across the Country on the subject of how relevant the Lib Dems are to the voting public.
We are winning local Council seats – true. But we cannot get past 10% in the national opinion polls.
I am the first to admit that national opinion polls are no guide to local elections- I won my first seat in 1999 with 65% of the vote when we were around 11% in the national opinion polls.But the Polls will not move for us until we have something tangible to offer
What we need right now is develop two or three policies that resonate with the Liberal minded voters from all Parties, especially the millennials [25-40].
Corbyn promised them a land of milk and honey in his June General Election Manifesto. Tuition fees debt- gone. Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes built. A promise to stay in the Customs Union and the Common Market- even though he has been a lifelong critic of the European Union and almost certainly voted to leave.
What he didn’t say was how we got to this promised land who was to finance the journey and when would we arrive. Corbyn was gambling on a General Election before Christmas. As it is, his promises and policies are crumbling under scrutiny. He won’t be able to pull off the same trick twice.
So let us shout from the rooftops where we stand on just three issues:
- We would add a penny in the pound to income tax, the proceeds to go directly from the Taxman to the NHS and not into the bottomless pit of the Exchequer.
- There is a movement afoot to campaign for a fairer voting system –proportional representation to be introduced for Parliamentary and local elections. This welcome move is supported by numerous Labour MP’s, the Greens, the SNP, the Lib Dems and yes even UKIP. The myth that ‘First past the post’ produces stable governments is not borne out by the facts of the last three general elections. Let us use Facebook, this website, and other social media to see what the reaction is from the local voting public for a fairer voting system.
- So far I have avoided mentioning Brexit with good reason. Nearly 17 million electors voted to leave and every day that passes they are in receipt of more bad news. Whether it is their Job that is being exported, their food bills going through the roof or the fact that ever lengthening waiting lists for hospital beds due to staff shortages as trained doctors and nurses head back home to Europe mean they and their loved ones cannot get the medical help they need.
They do not need us to bang on at them saying “ we told you so” What we need to point out is they can change their mind when they are ready to do so.
The Lawyer who wrote the Article 50 which we triggered in March 2017 has repeatedly told the Government It be can be reversed and we can then take our time to negotiate a carefully orchestrated withdrawal from Europe keeping as many as the good bits as we are allowed. But it will be at a price. It cannot however be as bad as jumping out of the aeroplane, when the only passengers with a parachute [ land, money, property, overseas accounts ] are the landed gentry of the Tory party such as Rees- Mogg and Redwood.
Cllr Malcolm Gaskill
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