As surely as longer days herald the arrival of spring, a Lib Dem attack on Labour signals a local election is in the offing.
Jonathan Brown’s craven and somewhat desperate attempt in last week’s Observer to cash in on the defection from the Labour party of the ‘Tinge’ group of dissident Labour MPs was depressingly predictable Lib Dem behaviour.
Could it be that the Lib Dems, who now sit in a forlorn-looking third place in Chichester’s city wards as well as the constituency, are worried about Labour consolidating the position of true opposition to the Tories that we have worked hard to achieve over recent years in our fantastic district?
Let’s look in more detail at the most recent fact-free missive that adorned these very pages.
As far as abuse within the Labour party is concerned, I have contact with Labour constituency parties throughout the country and I can only think of one of those where this has been a systemic problem.
It was swiftly dealt with. That is not to say that bullies don’t exist in Labour: merely that there are no more than in other large organisations.
As far as being an effective opposition is concerned, Labour have defeated the government in Commons votes on more occasions under this leadership than in any period since the John Major years: interesting definition of failure.
The use of the word ‘ideology’ is telling and provides deep insight into the Lib Dem mind-set. Policies driven by evidence-based ideology have been at the core of all successful governments, local and national. The welfare state in its current form would not exist without the intellectual underpinning of well-thought out ideology.
But, of course, Lib Dems do tend to leave the thinking to others.
For example, they were only too happy to leap into bed with the Tories in 2010, enabling the austerity-driven onslaught on our public services that has wrought misery on so many people.
This is not one-off behaviour for the Lib Dems: they always show their true colours in the end (blue with a slight yellow tinge).
They also love to portray themselves as ‘nice’ and ‘reasonable’.
However, the last paragraph of Jonathan Brown’s letter shows the pathological hatred they have for people who disagree with them.
It contained a rather unhinged attack on both Labour and the Conservatives as anti-immigrant, anti-business and anti-European.
The Tories are big enough to fight their own battles, so I’ll just refer anyone who wants refutation of all of those points from the Labour standpoint to our 2017 manifesto.
Nothing in that document is anti-business (unless he means the plans to make huge corporations pay their taxes) or anti-immigrant (just the opposite) or indeed anti-Europe.
Bear in mind, too, that the only council in West Sussex to reduce rents for council tenants year-on-year and the one with the lowest council tax increase for this year is Labour-run Crawley, demonstrating that Labour councils find creative ways of dealing with budget cuts imposed by central government without punishing their poorest residents.
So, I would reciprocate the councillor’s invitation: if you are sick of the parties that together concocted the abomination that is austerity, and you want a genuine alternative, the Labour party awaits with open arms.
Kevin Hughes, prospective Labour candidate and City Branch Chair, Theatre Lane, Chichester