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!?!