Monday, 19 April 2010

People in Reading West saying "I agree with Nick"

Sorry for the lack of updates I've been campaigning pretty much flat out. But it's all good. I took part in an enjoyable & lively radio debate with the Labour and Conservative candidates on Friday in between canvassing, delivering leaflets, chatting to residents and supporters across the constituency. It seemed to go well (when I got home I had an email from a caller who had asked a question saying she liked my answer to a question which was nice!) I reported a few weeks back about the positive reaction me and members of my Lib Dem team are getting on the doorstep here in Reading West. And that was before Nick Clegg's brilliant performance on the first Leaders Debate on ITV! I was confident Nick would pull it off but he surpassed even my optimistic expectations.I've heard Nick speak in the flesh a few times - including at the highly-successful Town Hall meeting he held in Reading two years ago and always found his direct, straightforward style and the fact he listens to people really impressive. But it's not just the way he says things but what he says that matters. And on content he won hands down I thought. Seems like thousands of other people agreed with meI lost count of the number of times I heard the other two Party leaders say "I agree with Nick" (I hear GB said it 7 times!). What a pity Labour and Conservative MPs didn't agree with him when it mattered - in Parliament when the Lib Dems tried time and again to clean up British politics and the other parties blocked reform.
In case you missed it, here is Nick's compelling closing statement again - in all it's power:

Nick visited my ward a few years ago and came to Hexham Rd with me and we spoke about my campaign to improve the quality of life for local residents after years of neglect by Labour and to meet some of my constituents. His down to earth, easy and relaxed manner went down really well with everyone he spoke to. The last time I heard Nick speak was at Lib Dem Spring Party Conference in Birmingham in March and it was the best speech I'd ever heard him give - full of passion and conviction. He spelled out how vitally important the General Election is for the future of our country and how much is riding on it in terms of delivering fairness and a new politics. I've always thought that the more people got to hear Nick the more they would like what he had to say, and I was right. With the Lib Dems being given equal coverage in the media during the election people are getting the message that we offer something different. The Leaders Debate has opened people's eyes in Reading West to the fact that this election is not a two horse race between Labour and the Conservatives. The Lib Dems are very much in the race and we are the only Party offering real change, not more of the same from the Labservatives or "the two old parties" as Nick calls them. On the doorstep, right across the constituency people of all ages and backgrounds have been saying "let's give the Lib Dems a go". Or "I've been thinking about voting Lib Dems for ages and I'm going to now". Many of them have told me they watched the debate. The change they are being offered by David Cameron is fake change and many people I've spoken to are seeing right through it. Campaigning in Whitley and Oxford Road on Friday, Pangbourne, Kentwood, Southcote and Calcot on Saturday, and Tilehurst and Theale on Sunday we got really positive reactions from people wherever we went- all of them ex-Labour and ex-Conservative voters. It was like someone had switched a light on. Nick had managed to cut through all the spin and rubbish that is written about Lib Dem policies in opposition Parties' leaflets and many newspapers and connect directly with people. Since the programme I've had phone calls, emails and Facebook messages from people wanting to help our campaign which has given us a real boost. I am confident that this is not a one off but just the start. This genie cannot be put back in the bottle by Labour or Tory spin doctors. Sadly Labour have kept up with their nasty personal attacks on me in their latest literature and the Labour candidate for Reading West Naz Sarkar has still refused to sign up to the clean campaign pledge. Playing dirty isn't going to persuade the thousands of people who've given up on Labour in Reading to go back. Gordon Brown's Labour government is discredited and tarnished by the expenses scandal and Labour's failure to deliver political reform. Locally people complain of phone calls and emails not being answered by senior Labour councillors and they are fed up with it. Attempts to smear my excellent record as a councillor by Labour is not going to help people stuck waiting for years for affordable housing in Reading or children living in poverty. In this election people want to hear positive messages about what politicians and political parties will do to help change their lives (like the Lib Dem fair tax policy) and change politics (like our plan to enable people to sack their MPs) and they are hearing that from the Lib Dems, not from Labour or the Conservatives who are stuck in the past, dealing with the politics of fear not hope. Check out this short film "I believe in fairness" for more info about the Lib Dem campaign for change that works for you.

Finally, Tuesday 20th (tomorrow) is the final day when you can register to vote in the general and local elections here in Reading and West Berkshire. Visit the RBC website, download the form, sign it and take it in to the Civic Offices 5pm tomorrow to ensure you have a chance to vote for real change in Reading West! Must go I've just had another email from somone wanting to help our campaign in Whitley...

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