Lib Dem Voice have published an update on Lib Dem candidates chosen to fight the next General Election. They include three candidates to replace sitting Lib Dem MPs who are standing down. Julie Pörksen has been chosen in Berwick-upon-Tweed as the candidate to replace Alan Beith. Vikki Slade has been chosen in Mid Dorset and North Poole where Annette Brooke is standing down and Lisa Smart is the Lib Dem candidate to succeed Andrew Stunell in Hazel Grove.
Miss Pörksen and Miss Slade seem to have little time for the policies of the coalition government. Both appear to be ideologically closer to socialism than to classical liberalism and to have views that would make them quite at home in the Labour Party.
A scroll down Miss Slade’s Twitter feed. There is a support for an extra penny on the base rate of Income Tax (the “Fair Penny” campaign.) There is opposition to free schools and academies. Complaints about “unqualified” teachers – those without a QTS even though they have years of teaching experience and be highly qualified in the subject they are teaching. Miss Slade also tweets her opposition to the spare room subsidy cut.
Miss Slade has less enthusiasm for Mr Clegg. She does mention agreeing with him at one point during the Lb Dem conference but says she is “shocked” to find her self doing so and that she wants more of “the Nick we met this week on TV.” She is rather more effusive about Lord Oakeshott and Tim Farron MP. She opposes spending cuts and he use of the private sector in the NHS. I just give a general flavour. There may be Government policies she supports but it is hard to spot references to them.
There is a similar message from Miss Pörksen’s Twitter feed. She again attacks the spare room subsidy cut. She says the Common Agricultural Policy is to be commended as it “results in cheap food.” Plenty of “fight the cuts” references on welfare and legal aid. Ideological hostility to profit. Miss Pörksen is clearly a great fan of Shirley Williams and Mr Farron. Mr Clegg doesn’t get mentioned as much.
In fairness it should be acknowledged that Miss Smart offers a less statist tone. She stresses what the Government has achieved in tax cuts for the poor and urges them to go further. There is stress on individual and voluntary solutions to poverty – such as credit unions. Mr Clegg is mentioned quite often and rather favourably. She is sympathetic to Liberal Reform – who have been winning the ideological argument in the Party.
Voters in Berwick-upon-Tweed and Mid Dorset and North Poole who are proud of what the Coalition Government has achieved should not vote Lib Dem at the next election.
As Tim Montgomerie wrote in The Times(£) this morning our political parties are untidy ideologically. I’m afraid these selection contests suggests the socialists in the Party are beating the classical liberals.