Peter Hough

Peter Hough
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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

28 weeks later...

It's almost 28 weeks since the Rage Virus spread through a large section of the voting public - and along with other colleagues - I lost my seat on Sefton Council.

During my five years as a councillor I've always given 100%, refusing to sit on the wall when difficult decisions had to be made, and championing residents causes when they were the victim of council bureaucracy. I even got some policy changes made which benefited local people. My achievements, and those of my former ward colleagues, are a matter of record. Many residents appreciated the hard work I put in, and contacted me to give their personal thanks.

So what happened on May 5th was that the Rage Virus turned people's heads towards central Government, and they wanted to send the Liberal Democrat coalition partners 'a message'. No cuts!  They did that by voting for the candidates of the party that is responsible (along with the bankers) for the financial mess we're now in.

Well, that makes sense then. But you can't expect logic when people are infected with the Rage Virus. Ask Danny Boyle.

We could let the economy go the way of Greece. They've already made cuts which are ten times higher than those being made by The Coalition - and are on the point of disappearing down a black hole. That's not to mention Italy and Spain.

The infected also wanted to send a message along the lines of: You traitors - why have you gone into government with the anti-Christ!

We could have let the Tories rule on their own. No doubt they would have won a second, autumn, election with a bigger, working majority, as the Millibands were still arguing over which of them was to be leader of the Labour Party. That would have been great. A right wing Tory government let loose on the country again - with no one to moderate them, and no implementation of Liberal Democrat policies like raising the tax threshold to £10,000 for the low paid or the extra £2.5 Billion funding for a million of the most disadvantaged pupils.

That makes sense too.

Their message also included: You reneged on your promise not to raise tuition fees!

That does have my sympathy. It was mismanaged - but Labour (who introduced tuition fees to begin with) have since said they would raise them too - capped at £6000 - a huge increase from their position during the election, when Ed and his buddies said they only needed to be increased by just a few hundred pounds! After studying the small print, the National Union of Students have now said that the changes made by The Coalition are 'relatively progressive'. That's thanks to Clegg and other LibDem ministers.

What was personally interesting for me, was how people reacted when I lost.

Several Labour councillors at the count shook my hand and said that it was not personal (having just shafted me!), and that I would be 'missed'. I received almost 60 emails from disappointed residents, plus letters, cards and phone calls.

While a number of my former LibDem colleagues contacted me to offer condolences - there were several others, who I thought I had a personal resonance with, who to this day (28 weeks later) have made no contact at all.

Perhaps their reaction was a consequence of how some people have a problem in dealing with other people's grief. They don't know what to say - so it is best avoided. Or perhaps they just decided to write me off. I seem to have been deleted from some email lists.

That's politics I suppose. Life's a bitch and then you're deleted.

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