13 Apr 2010

Naughty Labour ad?

No doubt many will have noticed that David Drew had a full page advertisement in last weeks’ Dursley Gazette and the SNJ, extolling Greens to vote for him as he has all the Green credentials. The advert makes no reference to the Labour Party - and it was set it up by Ron Bailey from Suffolk who left the Green Party around ten years ago - then joined the Lib Dems and now may well be Labour. Points West are covering the story - I think tonight.

Well I welcome David publicising his green record and seeking votes for it but this was not a clever advert and could backfire...in contrast he is sending out a proper election leaflet by post - I got one yesterday that is clearly labeled Labour.

David indeed has a good record compared to many in Parliament on green issues - and certainly hugely better than Neil Carmichael, the local Tory candidate, who has no such track record. As regular readers of this blog will know I've congratulated David Drew on many occasions for his stance on many issues from Chargossian Islanders to his opposition to a large incinerator to the Sustainable Communities Bill - but David is not a Green.

David actively supports nuclear power, has voted for ID cards and Foundation Hospitals, supported war in Afghanistan, voted strongly against an investigation into Iraq war, has failed to support equal rights for gay people and ultimately supports the Labour party and the enormous damage they have done. David is also only described as "Voted moderately for laws to stop climate change" by the independent They Work For You website.

Some will argue that David is a better bet than the local Tory - he would be - much much better - but ultimately if we are to achieve the change we need I don't believe voting Labour is the way. Many have also asked David to stand as an independent MP but he remains wedded to Labour and hopes of transforming that party. I fear that battle is lost but of course respect his hopes to influence Labour to return more to it's discarded values.

We will never get what we need if we don't support it. Labour have had 13 years to change the voting system yet now ask Greens to forget the wars, the growing inequality, the failures to develop energy security, the push for evermore unsustainable economic growth....hey this blog is not for a list of all that now....I accept that for many voters the choice will not be easy. David won by something like 350 votes last time I can't see him doing that again despite the huge local support.

I know the local Green party have had many angry calls re the advert - one even was canceling their membership as they had thought we were urging folk to vote Labour. Here is another comment emailed to me:

I was shocked to read an advert in today's Dursley Gazette, which appeared to be from The Green Party asking Green voters to give their vote to David Drew in the forthcoming election. After I got over my anger at the Green Party's cheek in telling where to place my Green vote, it dawned on me that this was a cunningly concealed advert by the Labour Party and probably had nothing to do with The Greens. A list of ex-Green people were listed at the bottom though. It fooled me for a while, and is so cleverly constructed into fooling a lot of people. I am insulted that such an advert appeared and think the Green Party should complain to the Labour Party and the Dursley Gazette about publishing.

I know also a whole host of letters have been written to the local press - although with it being election time I suspect many will not be printed. However here is a statement from the local party office:

Parliamentary candidate Martin Whiteside said ‘I hope the election can be fought on party policies and record in Government – not on trick tactics like this. It is a shame the campaign has started like this.’ The full-page advertisement was placed in the Stroud News and Journal (7th April) and Dursley Gazette (8th April). The advertisement contains a picture of Labour MP, Mr David Drew, a list of his ‘green credentials’ and opens with a call for Green voters to vote for him. There is not one mention of the Labour Party anywhere at all on the advertisement. John Marjoram, Party Co-ordinator for the Stroud District Greens says, “This advertisement has shocked and angered Greens throughout the district. We would like to assure them that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Green Party. We have an excellent parliamentary candidate in Martin Whiteside who is doing everything he can to win on the fair and just policies that the Greens stand for. It is a sad day indeed when, after 13 years in government, a political advertisement for a Labour MP dare not even mention the word ‘Labour’”.

It is also a strange that Labour somehow think Greens should always stand down to let them win. What about and appeal to Lib Dems locally? Or do somehow they have more right to stand than us? Infact the differences between the three main parties are wafer thin on most issues - Greens at least offer a real choice - I'll post the latest Green Party election video in a blog tomorrow, that picks up on that issue and later today Martin Whitesides' latest video.

See an independent website that will help you vote according to policies - see details here - interestingly Greens still have the largest share of votes.....oh if only democracy was fairer!?!


Anonymous said...

The advert wasn't paid for by or placed by David

Andy said...

I still can't see how David can belong to a party that calls for more economic growth - it just isn't possible.

I would like to support the guy but I just can't - the Labour party is beyond repair. We need to start thinking differently and only the greens make sense when it comes to the economy.

Anonymous said...

David can only be considered the best local MP Stroud has ever had. He does not tow the party line, we need a strong MP that stands for local people. He does that. It is sad that Greens don't feel they can back him, as unfortunately as the electoral system stands it means in Stroud vote Green get Conservative, simple as that. Maybe one day when there has been electoral reform a Green vote might mean you get a Green candidate, but the Conservatives don't believe in reform, so if you vote Green and get Conservatives that just won't change.
Your choice....time to open your eyes perhaps though? And maybe your hearts to an MP that cares about Stroud.

Anonymous said...

David - an MP that fails to back equality for gay people and supports nuclear power is no Green MP.

When Labour first came along 110 years ago they wanted to represent the interests of everybody - they were the radical new look the country needed. If people had voted Tory or Liberal then Labour would never have taken off....we urgently need real Green voices in Parliament not more support for the current Labour Government and it's mantra of economic growth. It is unsustainable - how can David support such a party?

Vote Green and be part of the change that must come.

Anonymous said...

How sad that you don't see the reality then, I will post again on May 7th to remind you green voters how you let the Torries win (I sincerely hope it isn't so though)
How sad you have to look backwards 110 years and not just deal with the choice you have in front of you now. Some Labour MP's are not worth your vote, but David is not one. You may not agree with everythin he does, but he is closer to your believes than the alternative. Yes by all means vote green in future but in this election if you care about Stroud just should consider all the good David has done.
All our local schools are better off under labour, our hospital waiting lists are almost non-exsistant and pensioners travel free. Do you disagree that Labour has improved Stroud? Things aren't perfect, but they are millions times better than the Thatcher years.

Anonymous said...

Inequality rising, 6 wars, Trident, id cards, no pr, health privatisation....was it really a Labour Govermnent - look at graphic on Ruscombe Green on 27th April.....

But yes - better than Thatcher....but vote Green in the future? How long do you propose we wait? Someone said that to me last election....

And hey why give Greens a hard time? Why aren't the lib dems letting the Tories in?? Or are Greens somehow different and not allowed to vote for what they believe in?

David lost my vote when I discovered he failed us on gay rights - equality is fundamental as Philip Booth says in this blog - I agree.

As an aside I don't agree with free travel for pensioners - give them the money and let them decide how to spend it.

Andy said...

I just found this:

gerald hartley says:
April 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive – that advert will not leave my memory and my MP’s reputation will for me be for ever besmirched. I had become accustomed to a little disingenuousness, but this was “Goodnight Vienna”.
When David claimed at the star Anise that Liverpool was an example of voters favouring Lib Dems at local elections and Labour at parliamentary elections, he was of course quite deliberately obscuring the fact that some Labour supporters just fail to turn out for the locals. That argument does not apply to Green voters in Stroud and the reasons that they are persuaded to vote Labour are predominantly negative.
1. To keep the Tories out. At Stroud District Council the Conservatives have 31 councillors to Labour’s 7. At Glos County Council (Stroud Dist Area) Conservatives are 8, Labour 1. In the Euro Election (Stroud Dist Area) Labour was last by a distance behind Conservatives, UKIP, Greens & Lib Dems. Perhaps it’s time to accept the challenge of changing the views of voters, rather than finding ways to distort the democratic process to deny them their free choice. That would of course involve persuading people to consider policies rather than personalities and media driven agendas. voteforpolicies.org.uk has already shown that the Green Party would win that contest. So there’s no enthusiasm for that.
2. He’s a jolly good fellow. How indicative of the times that an MP can, in many peoples view, earn the right to be returned again simply by being of good character. So he didn’t have his hand in the till. So what? He has a good back office support. So he should. But this is not a sinecure. Are not the other candidates also of good character and ability?
3. He’s faithful to his party, but only when it suits him & the evangelical christians who help fund him.
4. Contrarily, he’s also independent minded, but only when he doesn’t need to use the Labour machine to get elected.
Mr Drew knows, but is not quite honest enough to admit, that the first past the post system, the allocation of media time, plus the vested interests’ cash, gives the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties such a huge advantage that it has guaranteed the status quo for decades. Green voters don’t desert the Green Party because they don’t like their parliamentary manifesto, which the Greens have to fund themselves (unlike the big 3 who voted for the tax-payer to fund theirs to the tune of half a million pounds each). They do so because they can’t quite believe that if they all voted for what they really wanted, they might just get it.
Don’t be swayed by the heady mix of sycophancy, sentimentalism and misplaced loyalty. This Labour Government had 13 years to make inroads into social inequality and begin to address climate issues in entirely positive ways. The Brown Boom was instead used to fuel the debt that has drawn millions to the brink of financial ruin and beyond and facilitated a “we cannot lose” approach by the banks.
I will be voting for the policies that appear in the Green Party’s manifesto and which I would expect Martin Whiteside to pursue. I hope that will keep out all the other parties. If it does not I will respect the electorate’s decision and continue to work democratically for future change.

Andy said...

And this from a discussion site:

Martin Whiteside says:
1. The local Labour Party have continuously asked that the Greens stand aside. This would remove people’s right in Stroud to vote Green. I know of many, including many first time voters, who would not vote at all if they couldn’t vote Green because they simply don’t believe in the other parties (Iraq War, Trident, Nuclear Power, continued economic growth, growing inequality, return to casino capitalism etc etc.). I believe it is important people have the right to vote Green, even if many ultimately choose to vote tactically to keep the Tories or Labour out – that’s why I continue to stand, despite quite a lot of pressure.
2. The local Labour Party (and to a lesser extent the other parties) has made a tactical decision to target the Green Vote. Although it is a bit galling in vote terms, this is in many ways a compliment and means by being a significant electoral force we are having an influence on at least the rhetoric, and sometimes policies. However to continue to have this influence we need to be a growing electoral force – otherwise things will just go back to business as usual. Incidentally Labour may loose here because they have failed to convince ‘Labour voters’ that it is still worth voting for them, not because greens vote Green.
3. The local labour Party is imploring Greens to vote Labour because of the vagaries of our unfair electoral system. However labour have had 13 years to sort this and failed to do so. Only if the big parties are hurt by the system will they change it – this means people voting for what they believe. Labour had a manifesto pledge on electoral reform in 1997 – did they keep it?
4. David Drew has repeatedly been asked to stand as an Independent, but refused to do so, making clear publicly his loyalty is to the Labour Party. Therefore he needs to be judged on Labour’s record .
5. David is honest, hardworking and a good constituency MP – but are his claims to be a GREEN MP justified?
(a) Although Labour have done some good things – overall their record is disappointing – wider inequality than after Thatcherism, repressive terror legislation, 3rd worst use of renewables in Europe (only Malta and Luxemburg are worse!), belief in the market and never-ending economic growth to solve the problems, Trident, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Has David managed to influence any of this?
(b) As an individual David is greener than his Party (except on LGBT issues) – nobody is perfect – but there are things that Greens would take issue with:
– his enthusiastic support for nuclear power (and the x7 expansion of the local Oldbury Nuclear station);
– voting against giving the Climate Change Act real teeth by including maritime and aviation emissions or enabling the Government to set greenhouse gas performance standards for power stations.
– he didn’t vote against the final motion to send troops into Iraq despite many people being led to believe he did;
– On social justice he has consistently voted against or abstained giving equal rights to gay and lesbian couples (and abstained on other LGBT rights votes).
– he originally supported ID cards and now supports biometric passports and the database this implies.
– he opposes the wind turbines at Stinchcombe;
– he seems to support continuous economic growth on a finite planet (I stand to be corrected if I have mis-understood him here).
For more information see http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Continued in next comment

Andy said...

6. As a former Labour Party member who leafletted for Labour in 1997 I would prefer Labour/Drew to Conservative/Carmichael. However ultimately I have come to the conclusion that there is a bigger picture than Stroud and the differences between these two parties are pretty small, and sadly the Lib Dems seem to be pretty similar as well. There are lots of good honest people in these parties, but ultimately I believe we will only get the sort of transition to a sustainable, more equal future with a Green force in national politics. The planet just cannot wait for more of the same. We need radical change. I think we will only start getting change towards a sustainable future if we get a few Greens elected nationally. Is Stroud, with the 4th highest Green vote in the country, going to leave this to other areas? or are we brave enough to join places like Brighton and start change happening?
7. The dilemma for the Green voters is similar to that for when Labour started in 1900 – when it could be argued that a vote for Labour would let the Whig or the Liberal in – thank goodness enough people voted according to their principles and eventually the Labour party succeeded and has been a force for good in the 20th Century. Similarly people have been voting for what they believe in in Brighton – in the last election Greens got 22% and are now ahead in the opinion polls. We need Greens in parliament in the 21st Century.
Obviously people need to choose for themselves, and I respect for many it is a difficult choice.

Armchair Green said...

It seems all want the Green party to stand down - see re the Lib Dems:

Anonymous said...

Vote Green get Blue. Oh what a difference you Green voters make lol!

Anonymous said...

The point of your article was to suggest that David had done something wrong by placing that ad. Which he didn't, it is important that voters know the facts. Don't try to hide behind an advert which was nothing to do with him, if you don't wish to vote for him don't let this incorrect blog with it's opening line, "David Drew had a full page ad" be your reason. As that simple factually wrong.

Armchair Green said...

David saw the ad before it went out and did give the go-ahead for it.

Vote David, Get Brown.

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for all comments and debate - many of points have been answered. Although the question about why Lib Dems are not being asked to stand down or give up their vote has not been addressed?

At the end of the day it is a choice between compromising ones beliefs for an MP that is better than the Tory or sending a message to Westminister and others that we need real change.

Look at the Vote for Policies website - if folk voted according to that we would see Green MPs.....how can we achieve the real change if we keep compromising and giving our vote to another party? Why have a Green party? Green issues are high on the agenda in this area because Greens have continually raised the issues in local Councils and in the press - politicians want our votes and it is no surprise they try to court us.

Wasn't it Milliband who said he couldn't act on climate change because there was not enough support for measures? Green votes send a clear message we are fed up with the politics of business-as-usual.

As the graphic mentioned above and on my blog on 27th April shows Labour have shifted so far to the right - I cannot support a candidate who supports such a party that is so far away from my core beliefs, values, principles and more.

Anonymous said...

Come on you folks the revival of the Lib Dems seems more likely to take votes from David Drew than the Conservatives. What is very special about Stroud is the positive Green influence, including at District and County Councillor level and Greens could become the 'official opposition' to the Tories on the District Council after the local elections (to be held in some areas on May 6th).

The steadily rising Green vote in the area has had a massive impact. The other parties locally make efforts to promote their Green credentials and David Drew has emphasised the promotion of green issues and present himself as green – this is positive.

Because of the national situation it seems increasingly unlikely that Labour can win here in 2010. Greens and other progressive people voting tactically for David Drew are likely to contribute to the worst of both worlds. Labour will still lose here but the Green vote will no longer be seen to be on the rise and a threat to the bigger parties. This is the ultimate wasted vote.

Anonymous said...

Well done Greens, now we have a prat for our local MP, instead a decent bloke!

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find Labour did it themselves - and still no comment about Lib Dem vote?

Do you really think all Greens should compromise on issues like nuclear power and equality? How can David support such a bankrupt party that continues the mantra of ever more economic growth is a mystery.

Anonymous said...

Many Greens did see sense as your vote went down massively.

Jez said...

It seems those Greens wasted their vote then! Next time I suspect they will have learnt. As a long term campaigner against nuclear power I am not about to support Mr Drew. I suspect many of those gReens who compromised their vote now don't feel so great.

Russ said...

It seems that some greens are saying that people should vote for what they believe in, but isn't voting to keep Carmichael out voting for what one believes, for some people?

When you say you should vote for what they believe, you can't then force one particular definition of that behavior on them, ie "voting green".

The greens should let people become political savvy, not green voting machines. That would seem, to me, to be the way forward, and the future for the green party.

Philip Booth said...

Agree with last comment to some extent - although voting to keep Carmichael out sounds more like a negative vote - but certainly for many that was more important than other considerations - as noted before this was a difficult decision for many. For me a Green vote is a clear statement we want something different from what the other three parties are offering. It is wonderful at last we have a Green voice at Westminister.