When I first started writing about politics, our MP was Nick Palmer. I didn’t agree with many things he supported, but I got to know him as a decent bloke and a genuinely helpful MP, willing to help anyone who asked, irrespective of their political stripe.
One complaint I did have, as a journalist eager stories, was that Nick was uncontroversial, professional and dilligent. There was little to write about, therefore. Now I look back on those days with absolute nostalgia.
Since handing the PPC reins over to Greg in 2017, he’s inevitably become less visible, but has been active in support of Greg. His latest email newsletter is printed in full here, and not solely because I’m lazy and want to spend my birthday politics free. Rather, it is a well argued and passionate plea to use your vote wisely tomorrow.
This is a binary choice, I’m afraid. A vote for anyone but Greg Marshall is a vote for a Boris Johnson majority. That’s the bottom line. Yes, the electoral system is screwed, FPTP is awful. Yet right now, don’t pretend this is a proportional representation election. Over to Nick:
Parliament has a surplus of people who define themselves by opposition to someone else. Astonishingly, the Conservative campaign this time has come down to exactly two messages, “Get Brexit done” and “We’re not Corbyn”. Do you remember anything else in their manifesto? Something about potholes, wasn’t there? And yet these hope to govern with a majority for five years.
Is that because they have no ideas? Actually, no. The Conservatives have purged their entire moderate wing. Former PM John Major. Former Chancellor Ken Clarke. Former chairman Chris Patten. The list goes on. What is left is a hardcore right-wing, nationalist party. That is why they are perfectly willing to embrace a Brexit in 2020 with no trade deal whatever, in the hope that they can construct an offshore tax-avoiding free market paradise. Since this is not an agenda that would get majority
support, we’ve seen a Conservative campaign that would raise eyebrows in a Third World autocracy, grounded on a personality cult, lies, evasion and a blizzard of negative propaganda. It’s an embarrassment to a modern democracy.
On Thursday, either Darren Henry or Greg Marshall will be elected to represent you – the latest polls show them locked in a close race, far ahead of every other candidate. Darren represents the new breed of Conservatives, chosen from Wiltshire over local Conservatives because he represented the Brexiteer faith more completely.
Greg represents the tradition that I tried to establish as an MP – positive politics, based on a strong local focus and genuine open-mindedness. One of the reasons I like Greg and have been spending so much time working for him this week is that he predominantly stands for a positive vision – for decent public services, for a fair chance for everyone, for schools that have the resources to give a strong educational basis. Without these things, our society will decline – in productivity, in opportunity, in spirit. And he supports a reasonable compromise to end the Brexit nightmare – a fresh referendum with a choice of remaining members or leaving the political union but staying in a sensible customs union with our neighbours.
He’d make the better representative for Broxtowe, a constituency that has never embraced polarised extremism.
Please vote for positive politics, and support Greg Marshall on Thursday.