Coffee House

Eric Pickles in Eastleigh: Lib Dems are holding Tories back

22 February 2013

5:05 PM

22 February 2013

5:05 PM

All the evidence is pointing to a Lib Dem win in Eastleigh, but those Tories visiting are continuing to fight to the bitter end. Eric Pickles was down there today, and wasted no time at all in sinking his teeth into his Coalition partners. The Communities Secretary said:

‘The Lib Dems are taking the people of Eastleigh for a ride. Their homes tax would hit hardworking families hardest – with ordinary people running the risk of seeing a £320 hike in their council tax. The Lib Dem candidate doesn’t understand that his new tax could not be introduced without a costly general revaluation of council tax bands. When Labour did this in Wales, four times as many homes moved up one or more council tax bands as moved down.

‘Conservative priorities are completely different to the Lib Dems’. We have focused on delivering our 2010 election pledge to freeze council tax for two years, and we have now gone even further by providing funding for a third year’s freeze. The Lib Dems did not promise to freeze council tax before the last General Election – in fact they were opposed to capping council tax and said in 2010 they would increase council tax. This help for hardworking people is the result of David Cameron being in Government.’

It’s not unusual to hear these ‘if we weren’t in government, X wouldn’t happen’ statements from Conservatives and Lib Dems, except it’s normally reserved for the briefings after the Budget. But this by-election is also seeing the rise of the ‘if we weren’t in Coalition, X could happen’. In releasing Pickles’ words, CCHQ tried to underline the message that the Lib Dems are more than just dead wood who aren’t providing the ‘help for hardworking people’ that Pickles is describing by saying:

‘Eric Pickles has warned the people of Eastleigh not to vote for a Lib Dem who could hold David Cameron back from doing the right thing for hardworking families in Britain.’

David Cameron made the same point yesterday in a Q&A in the constituency, when he told voters that ‘to get an EU referendum you need to vote for a Tory-only government’. This was interesting because previously the Prime Minister had insisted that a referendum would be a ‘red line’ in Coalition negotiations. Expect to hear more and more of this even once the Eastleigh by-election has finished. The Tory leadership met at Chequers this week to discuss their party’s immigration and welfare strategy, and strategists believe the party could reap significant benefits if it is able to show that the Lib Dems have been holding them back from ‘doing the right thing for hardworking families’ on these areas, too.

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Show comments
  • Youbian

    So end the coalition Dave. It is killing the Conservatives and you caused this situation.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    I think what Cameron meant to say was “to get a biased, rigged EU Referendum which is intended to give The Establishment the mandate to keep us in the EU which it currently lacks, you should vote Tory.”
    If you want to get out of the EU, vote UKIP.
    Cameron has done NOTHING to prevent hordes of Romanians and Bulgarians from turning up here to claim benefits in 2014. The idea that he will run a General Election campaign on controlling immigration – particularly when he has just invited millions of Indians to come and live here – is laughable.

    • Makroon

      And if you want to get out of UKIP vote Marta Andreasen ?

  • HooksLaw

    The referendum may well be a red line in any coalition agreement which means that if say the LDs do not want a referendum there would be no coalition and thus no referendum and so the only way you can get a referendum would be by voting tory.

    Since the majority of people in Eastleigh have voted either labour or LD recently we might suppose that the issue is not a big one with them.

  • Davey12

    Eric is starting to get it. UKIP will kill the Tories. They will never win again.

    That means Tory voters will have to decide to live with a political party that will never hold political power ever again or move to a growing party.

    Never voting Tory, Labour or LibDems. Those days are gone. Many others doing the same.

    • HooksLaw

      You speak like someone with a mental age of 12 – or is it 96.

      • Davy12

        Never again will there be another Tory government. Demographic changes will start kicking in fast. Baby boomers dying off. Many of the Ethnic minorities reaching voting age. These guys will not vote Tory. Thousands of Tory voters who refuse to vote for a government that thinks they have no were else to go and we had to take it or leave it. We have decided to leave it.

        When it dawns on many Tory voters that the Tory party will never be in government again what will they do.

        To explain in detail:
        No Tory will get elected in Scotland.
        The odd Tory in Wales.
        A few Tories the North.
        Without the south the Tory party is finished.

        • Makroon

          Will all those “dead baby-boomers” (in their late 50s/early 60s), be voting UKIP then ?

          • Davy12

            If you do not understand demographics and how it works just say so. Many people here will gladly help you,.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I’m afraid he is correct. The Conservative party has either stood by stupidly while the other team moved the goalposts or seen its own team swop jerseys. The rise of the authoritarian left under New Labour was just a foretaste of what is to come. The future will not be Tory opposition to it but open insurrection. And that will only come after many painful years and a far greater build up of public anger than currently exists.

    • Archimedes

      You know the glass ceiling that feminists like to talk about? They don’t want it anymore. They said UKIP could have it.

  • Daniel Maris

    Left to his own devices, Pickles could easily destroy the public sector in the UK. Many of you may wish for that – but careful what you wish for. We will be destroying a valuable inheritance from the past and replacing it with cash-driven chaos.

    • Colonel Mustard

      If destroying the public sector gets rid of all the socialists burrowed into it then that gets my vote.

      • David Simpson

        are you for real or are you just a clapped out twerp with no brains

        • Fergus Pickering

          I don’t know who you are, but speak respectfully to the Colonel or shut your ignorant cakehole. If I may put it that way.

          • David Simpson

            I always say as it is and neither you(jumped up twerp) or anyone else will stop.

            So i take it by your reply that you and your ilk want a one party(tory) state

            • CharlietheChump

              You say as you think it is which is not the truth; we need MORE parties, More PArliament and less Executive power

      • dalai guevara

        Colonel, perhaps now is a good time for you to get out all those old Jean Luc Godard movies and reminisce?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Even if I knew what you were on about, “now” is not a good time for anyone of my vintage.

          • Pincer22

            Colonel, now is not a good time for any vintage.
            Tomorrow doesn’t look so good either

          • dalai guevara

            Relax – if you don’t ‘do’ Beatles, the Rolling Stones documentary will be just right the thing for you. It is either/or after all, is it not?

            • Colonel Mustard

              It is not I who is obsessed with socialism and I am perfectly relaxed, thanks. It is the prevailing obsession of the establishment and media of this country, the consequences of which do concern me. On the other hand my musical preferences are no concern of yours, whether used in a cheap attempt to impugn me or not.

      • CharlietheChump

        AND MINE!

    • HooksLaw

      The public sector was perfectly OK in 1997 before labour added hundreds of thousands. Something just under a million I think.
      The other issue is one of salaries.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Is that why Ken Clarke started the current Government addiction to debt then? He borrowed £146 billion in just 4 years (more than Wilson, Heath, Callaghan and Thatcher had borrowed between 1964 and 1990 and only £6 billion less than Brown in the 10 years between 1997 and 2007).

        Brown and Darling have much to answer for but please stop peddling this nonsense about Major’s Conservatives. They were the start of the cancre that now plagues this country! They were as rotten as what has followed!

      • Daniel Maris

        It’s not a question of numbers. It’s a question of organisation and ethos. The Tories could easily slim the public sector. But that is not what they are engaged in – or at least not what Pickles is about. He and others are like toddlers taking apart a radio without knowing what the parts do.

      • CharlietheChump

        And local govt pensions which, more than anything else, drove the increases in council tax under Liebore.

    • Smithersjones2013

      The vast majority of the public sector is less than 70 years old. It hardly counts as any sort of legacy. However, most of what is left in the ‘inheritance’ is either dysfunctional, corrupted or unsustainable. Little is worth retaining.

      Like its contemporaries, those dreadful high rises of the post war period, the public sector, as is, is better demolished and rebuilt in a different form than further sustained in its current profligate,overly bureaucratic, patronisingly arrogant, interfering self-serving state.
      .

      • Colonel Mustard

        Well said.

      • dalai guevara

        The civil service, ie in essence the ‘public sector’, is based on Prussian tradition – I attach a list of its virtues. From time to time it is worth reminding us of our roots:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_virtues

        • Colonel Mustard

          It might be based on them but they are seldom reflected. The ethos has been well and truly nobbled in pursuit of socialist (!) ideology.

          • dalai guevara

            Aha – we are beginning to see common ground. The ‘socialist’ virtue of accepting corporate ‘donations’, not paying for your champagne, and occasionally forgetting to add VAT in a bid for a rail franchise?

            Please point out to me in which ‘socialist’ bible these virtues are listed so I can meditiate over it.

    • Makroon

      “A valuable inheritance from the past” – presumably you mean the Blair-Brown legacy ?

  • DWWolds

    Good old Eric!

    • HooksLaw

      Mr Pickles exposes the LDs clearly enough. The LDs have had an opportunity to show how they could be sane and sensible in government indeed they had a chance to show how they might be a responsible left of centre influence.

      Being left of centre is a respectable enough position, many honest decent people own up to that view. However they have shown themselves to be naive and wedded to their loony lefty tendencies.

      It looks hard now to see if they can benefit from their spell in govt, though 2 years is a long time in politics. The widest spectrum in politics should vote tory to keep out the loonies of both wings.
      And get a referendum on the EU.

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