Five years ago I was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate against Jeremy Hunt, the Tory Minister who then became Health Secretary, coming second but by a wide margin. I did not expect to overturn his large majority but I DID expect that the Liberal Democrats would keep their word on tuition fees and that in any coalition with the Tories they would secure a change in the electoral voting system. To say I was disappointed with what happened is an understatement. The election this week will demonstrate just how much damage has been done to the Party I believed in. The betrayal of students and of the electorate in general has left a very bitter taste for many of the 6.8 million people who voted for them. Current projections are that the number voting for the Lib Dems will reduce to below 4 million on Thursday.
I grew up in Sidmouth in East Devon and went to school in Ottery St Mary. I still have family living there and I love this beautiful corner of the West Country. I have been watching the election campaign there and have been very impressed with the campaign of one particular candidate who appears to be a strong antidote to the cynical and deceitful manipulations which have so badly corrupted British politics in the last few years. She is the Independent Claire Wright and she has an excellent chance of beating the sitting Tory MP in what has always been a true blue constituency. Even the Daily Telegraph think so!
Claire is a strong advocate for local community hospitals. She will fight for better support for carers including home based care and respite and for improvements to underfunded mental health services. Her support for small businesses includes a demand for fairer business rates for small traders.
Probably the biggest reason for her growing popularity is that she has a strong record of independent campaigning in favour of the local community at a time when the Tory-controlled East Devon District Council (EDDC) has ridden roughshod over the concerns of local people as exemplified by their foolhardy plans to move their headquarters at vast expense. On her website Claire says she will:
- Pressure EDDC to scrap its risky, wasteful and expensive relocation plans
- Insist that EDDC listens to local people and carries out genuine consultation when change is proposed
- Campaign to amend the National Planning Policy Framework, so it is less about economic growth and more about balanced communities
- Listen to local people’s views on protection for the countryside and nature
- Hold Conservative-led EDDC to account for its failure to achieve a Local Plan acceptable to a planning inspector
- Campaign for new rules for developers to properly recompense communities for development
I admire and applaud Claire Wright’s independent spirit and community based campaigning and I am therefore urging all those who would normally vote Liberal Democrat or Labour to give your support to Claire on Thursday.