The way to beat the sleaze-ridden Tories is intelligent cooperation

Ed Davey out supporting the superb Helen Morgan in North Shropshire where both former Tory and Labour voters are backing her to beat a Tory parvenu from Birmingham

I am really amazed that there is so much questioning about Johnson and his Christmas bash at Downing Street last. The only pleasure it gives is listening to Johnson and hapless Ministers being grilled on Sky and this morning on the Today Programme and absolutely tying themselves up in knots

“I don’t know that there was Party; I wasn’t there; if there had been a party it would have been done following all the rules; the rules were followed even though they said there shouldn’t be parties etc etc etc………”

That is just so typical of the Tories these days picking up all they have learned from the continued lying and blustering behaviour of their best mate Donald Trump. For people like this the rules are for little people like the rest of us. We must pay our taxes they find ways to legally avoid them with ever more complex schemes. They are an elite based on money or class, and usually both, who think they are both different and superior to the rest of us.

There has always been a bit of exaggeration and obfuscation in politics. We politicians are all human, few like to admit mistakes and we are now caught up in a relentless 24/7/365 media frenzy when some journalists often just throw stories around without bothering to check source or direction. This leaves everyone in the public eye and not just politicians dealing with the aftershock.

But the Tories go much, much further than this. You can see this most my looking at the issues around Covid. A succession of Tory Grandees and of course, Dominic Cummings, just ignored the laws to make whatever visits they like to their friends, family or lovers. We all remember the graphic scenes from this summer of the then Health Secretary groping and snogging one of his advisers who, funnily enough was also a long-time friend.

Such actions are just stupid. They almost pale into insignificance against the greed and corruption of the Covid contracts. It’s impossible to list them all so let’s just deal with two!

The first is the awarding of a £40 million contract to a mate of the afore mentioned Health Secretary. A non-competitive contract was given to a company which then subcontracted all the work to another company owned by Hancock’s mate. And what were the health or business qualifications of the mate? He had none. His qualification was to be the former manager of Hancock’s local boozer.

Track and Trace run by Serco has been in the news again. A huge number of people are earning more than £1,000 a day as consultants to the Track and Trace service which was not awarded by competition. In total the contract has cost more than £33,000,000,000.

I wouldn’t be too bothered by this if the VIP lane of Tory donating companies and individuals had established programmes that worked. But so much of what was bought has not worked or has been unusable. Track and Trace had to be rescued by the public health departments of local councils who knew how to get out and talk to people.

Compare Track and Trace which hardly worked with the vaccination and testing programmes. Both these were run by the NHS with crucial support from other parts of the public and voluntary sectors including the Army, Councils and Red Cross type voluntary bodies. When I went for my first two vaccinations there were volunteers from the local community helping their local GP practice to guide people through the process and building. They didn’t get £1,000 a day for doing this. They were lucky if they got a cup of tea and a biscuit.

I believe that there is a role for the use of private sector companies to work with public sector companies. The vaccines were developed using the skills and expertise of the private sector and universities but delivered by the public sector. I don’t think that a government department could have developed the vaccine, but I don’t think a private company had the reach into the community to deliver the inoculation programme.

But back to Tory sleaze. What can be done about it? There are continued calls for political parties to stand down and just have one candidate standing effectively as an anti-Tory. I don’t think that will work. Some of our voters would not vote Labour and might vote Tory if we don’t stand and the same is true for the voters of other Parties. The fact is we don’t own the votes of the community. It’s voters who decide what to do with their votes.

We saw this in constituencies like Batley & Spen and Amersham & Chesham. In Batley Labour just held the seat while the Lib Dems ran a minimal campaign. In Amersham the Lib Dems easily stormed through while Labour ran a minimal campaign.

Is that going to be replicated in Sidcup and Bexley and North Shropshire? In the first the Lib Dem campaign has been minimal, and I suspect that many of our voters will join with Tories and Greens to try and get the Tory out. In North Shropshire it’s the other way around. The telephone canvassing that I have been doing is indicating a big drop in Tory support and in Labour support as well with former voters from both parties falling in behind the Lib Dems.

That’s the way forward for the Country to defeat the money grubbing jackals in the Tory Party. Parties making intelligent choices about where to maximise or minimise their campaign and the voters deciding which is the most effective Party in that area to defeat the Tory Party.

So, I’ve got my fingers crossed for the Labour Party today and absolutely everything will be crossed for a Lib Dem win in North Shropshire in 2 weeks’ time.

P.S. None of this applies in Liverpool. It’s 27 years since a Tory last won anything in this City and he’s now a Lib Dem!! So, we’ll carry on bashing an incompetent Momentum led Labour Party at all levels.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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