Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Why I'm Voting Lib Dem On Thursday

Because the Lib Dem I'm voting for is me of course! But I'll pretend I'm not going to be putting a cross by my name on a ballot paper for a moment.

I left Folkestone in 2005 for five years of city living up in London. When I returned things had certainly changed: the high street was decimated, there were plans afoot to revitalise the harbour area with lots of posh houses and a marina but very little of much use to local people, and there was no genuine sense of purpose anywhere. That's the difference a few years of Tory misrule in Shepway makes.

Contrary to what many naysayers might think, I believe there is a future for Folkestone. Some of the work of the Creative Foundation and independent businesses has been remarkable in bringing a very real sense of improvement in some quarters. But the issue is there seems to be no ultimate vision or purpose, no real leadership pointing us towards a better quality of life.

We need jobs not expensive houses. We need development that's done with the approval of local people, not against it. . The HS1 isn't just a way to make Folkestone a dormitory town for rich people, but a way to encourage London businesses to move to Folkestone to take advantage of our cheap rents and give jobs to our residents. Should we really be turning existing, and possibly useful, infrastructure like the harbour railway into a "green path"?

Folkestone need not just be good, it could be great!

The problem is this; the Tories are conservatives. I know that seems blindingly obvious but they like things the way they are. It's their nature. They don't really care about leading Folkestone, they are quite happy to sit back and let it be. It's time to tell them that's simply not good enough.

I'm not going to pretend there won't be a Tory administration after Thursday. But what there can be is a strong, united opposition in the form of the Liberal Democrats. No other party has the number of candidates or experience necessary. If we have a strong opposition we may be able to force the Tories into taking Folkestone's future seriously.

We've seen what the Tories did in Hythe and in Shepway with their overwealming majorities... they forced through the Fisherman's Wharf development against the will of local residents. Do not allow them to laugh all the way to the bank as they do the same again and again over a divided and tiny opposition. The next few years are going to be FULL of developments and we need to make sure only the ones that benefit the people of Folkestone get through.

A vote for a Lib Dem in Shepway is not a vote for the Coalition. It's not a vote for cuts. It's a vote for a strong alternative to Tory misrule. It's a vote for a strong voice for the residents of Folkestone. And it's vote for Folkestone's future.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

No comments: