The start of the second day of our online hustings. This article on why you should vote for Elwyn Watkins and the Liberal Democrats comes from Nick Thornsby, winner of Lib Dem Voice’s Best New Blog 2010.
The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election is many things, but one thing it isn’t – or shouldn’t be at any rate – is merely a referendum on the government.
The media and the Labour party will try and tell you otherwise, for obvious reasons. The media, because framing the election in this way allows them to write endless stories before, during and after about ‘what the by-election means for the coalition’.
And the Labour party because, well, what else have they got to say?
One thing this by-election certainly is, is the voters’ chance to take part in the free and fair election they were denied in May thanks to the lies told by Phil Woolas about his Liberal Democrat opponent.
Were it not for Elwyn Watkins, the Liberal Democrat candidate, Phil Woolas’s lying and stirring-up of racial tension would have gone completely unpunished – it would have been five years before the voters of Oldham and Saddleworth got to have their say again.
Now, like Elwyn, the people of Oldham and Saddleworth have the opportunity to take a stand. They can say that they are angry about having been told outright lies in May. They can decide that they deserve better.
They have to ask: Will voting for the Labour candidate really do that?
There are two more reasons that Oldham and Saddleworth voters should vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday 13th January.
Firstly, a vote for Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins is a vote for a hard-working, straight-talking MP who is not simply in politics to be part of a cosy Westminister club. He has years of experience as a Councillor, and knows the constituency well.
And secondly because, in short, more Liberal Democrat MPs means more Liberal Democrat policies. The coalition is already implementing dozens of Liberal Democrat policies from our May manifesto, including raising the income tax threshold, reforming our politics and investing in education, yet we only have 57 MPs out of 650. Every extra Liberal Democrat MP means Nick Clegg has more leverage to implement more Liberal Democrat policies.
So, if Oldham and Saddleworth residents think Elwyn Watkins was right to stand up to Phil Woolas; if they believe that Oldham and Saddleworth deserves better; if they want an MP who will fight for the area in Parliament; and if they want more Liberal Democrat policies implemented to improve Britain, then voting Liberal Democrat on Thursday 13th May is their only choice.