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The Chestfield by-election can give us a great start in the General Election campaign

September 8, 2019 9:23 AM
By Martin Roche

By Martin Roche

With a massive effort, the Liberal Democrats can win this Canterbury City Council seat on 19th September - please give some time to help Peter Old win.

Hardly anyone alive has lived through such momentous political times. The UK finds itself caught in the vicious cross-winds of Brexit and a global drive by the hard Right to be the dominant political philosophy of the 21stcentury.

Liberal social democracy is the only force that stands between the hard right and the decency of civil and human rights. We stand shoulder to shoulder with people of every type. We are people of every type. All we ask of each other is good character.

What a very great thing that is freedom. Freedom to be who you are. To be what you want to be.

Freedom to be in business. Freedom to be black. Freedom to be a Catholic. Freedom to be a poet. Freedom to play golf. Freedom to be safe from harm, from intimidation, from fear and want. Freedom to travel, to trade, to visit. Freedom to be a citizen of here and a citizen of Europe and often a citizen of where our roots lie.

Freedom to be educated by the state and freedom to have the state help you stay healthy all your life and all your children's' lives. Freedom to send your children to private school. Freedom for women to be in charge of their own bodies, their own lives, their own money, their own talents. Freedom to assemble, to protest, to speak out.

For hundreds of years, across the globe, people have fought for freedom. For a better life. The liberal economist, William Beveridge, wrote in his famous report in 1942 of the "five giants" of post-war reconstruction that had to be slain; squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease.

That we in this country have done so much to combat these evils is a mountainous compliment to liberal social democracy. But we are slipping back. We are slipping back in poverty, in longevity, in schooling and in homelessness. If the Right takes command we can say farewell to the NHS as we know it.

None of what I have written is hyperbole or exaggeration. The hard Right wing agenda championed by Trump, Farage, Steve Bannon and Right wing members of the Conservative party would end or emasculate vast swathes of our public services.

So the free-market extremists can save on tax our children live in hunger. So they can command how we live, our European citizenship is thrown away, our neighbour feels driven to pack up and leave the UK, feeling no longer welcome or wanted.

But the forces of light are far from dimmed. Liberal Democrats triumphed in the local elections in England in May, including taking seats from the Conservatives in Canterbury and boosting our number on the City Council. At the European Parliament elections, Antony Hook from Faversham was elected a member for the South East, on a night that saw the party take a record 15 EP seats. The Westminster Parliament's newest MP, Jane Dodds, is a Liberal Democrat. She captured Brecon and Radnorshire, from the Tories in a great by-election victory. Last week, in far distant Shetland, Beatrice Whishart held off a strong challenge from the SNP to hold the seat for the LibDems, in a Scottish Parliament by-election.

We are winning across the land. Our vital task now is to keep winning. A general election is around the corner. Between now and then we need every boost we can get. We need to win.

If we can win Chestfield against the Tories we will send a shock wave throughout middle England. We can send a powerful democratic signal that liberal social democracy is strong and winning in Britain. We can reassure people across the land that a vote for the Liberal Democrats will deliver a better future. From Chestfield we can light the way to the future. .

In Peter Old, we have an outstanding candidate. He will be a very great asset to the people of Chestfield and to Canterbury district. Please help him win. All help is welcome. You are free to can do only what you are comfortable doing.

Peter, with the help of James Flanagan and others, is managing the campaign. Contact details are below. Here are some things you can help with (and get guidance and support).

  1. Leaflet the ward.
  2. Knock on doors and help persuade people to vote for Peter.
  3. Do telephone canvassing of voters in the ward.
  4. Be a teller at the polling stations on polling day.
  5. Help persuade people to come and vote on polling day.

To contact Peter Old; oldpj@doctors.org.uk 07948 962038

To contact James Flanagan: jamesdflanagan@yahoo.co.uk