On the off-chance that someone who doesn’t already know me reads this, a little introduction.
I am a lifelong Tory. I have always voted Tory, I am pretty much in love with Margaret Thatcher, I was a great admirer of David Cameron – and I always vote Conservative.
More importantly, I am a free-marketeer, I am an economic and social liberal – though I believe in individual responsibility and minimising government spending. Though occasionally the Conservative Party can make me wince socially – they have proven time and again that they are the only political party that will allow a free-market economy without endangering it through wasteful spending (though we are still spending far too much – austerity is an illusion…but that is a totally different argument).
Unfortunately, Brexit means that they are no longer following what I believe to be an optimal path in terms of economic well-being – yes I voted to remain, and increasingly strongly feel that we should have remained in the EU. The Conservative Party has become the Brexit Implementation Party. Sensible decisions can no longer be assumed.
This is not, however, a national election.
This is a local election, and as much as I would be tempted to use the opportunity to give the Conservative Party a kicking over Brexit – this is a local election and I will be voting on local issues.
My local area is Harrow. Labour-run, though with plenty of Conservative councillors, a few independents and one Liberal Democrat (in my ward). My ward is made up of two Labour councillors and one Liberal Democrat.
The council seems at least relatively well-run from my experience. The bins are picked up on time…erm…what else do councils do? I have no idea how much council tax is as my landlady pays it. There is a litter problem in my area but I don’t blame the council for the morons who cannot be bothered to use a bin. The council have just installed seemingly around 88,000 new bins just on my high street.
The one real issue that a local council can influence is housing, through their respective planning committees. Like across the whole of London and the south-east of England, houses are extortionately expensive, for renting but especially for buying. If we don’t build enough houses, house prices will never come down to affordable levels.
The council has approved some nice, elegant, tall blocks of flats near the train station, which will offer many homes.
The Conservative Party in my local area voted against (from my understanding), and are actively campaigning against housing being in the form of flats.
However, unless they are proposing to build on playing fields or parks, there is nowhere in Harrow to build sufficient amounts of semi-detached houses. It has to be flats. I even saw one person complaining that a block of flats would ruin their view of a distant church on the hill.
Stuff your view of the church. People need somewhere to live. Families need somewhere to grow. Those in desperate need of social housing need somewhere to stay.
The Conservative Party in my local area are against helping to solve what is one of the largest problems in the country, and the only one of the large problems (in my view) that local councils have any responsibility for.
It should go without saying that I cannot vote Labour. I spoke to two Liberal Democrat campaigners in my local area who advised that they supported building such badly-needed housing…interestingly, both recent ex-Tories too. The Conservative Party just post anti-housing leaflets through my doors and offer to keep picking the bins up on time. Thanks.
And only Liberal Democrats or Labour can really win the council seats in my ward – my loathing for Labour far outweighs my support for the Conservative Party
Nationally it would still require a lot to happen for the Liberal Democrats to persuade me that I should vote for them – they seem to have no leader, I know little of their policies, their MPs often seem weak and uninspiring.
Therefore, with a fairly heavy heart, I have concluded that I cannot vote for the Conservative Party in this local election, and have voted Liberal Democrat.
For those who are passionate, like I am, about more houses being built – may I recommend that you follow and support Yimby. Yes In My Back Yard.