Today you can have real change

So we’ve reached the end of our General Election campaign 2010 here in Manchester Withington.

It’s been an exciting and eventful few weeks, packed full of visits to local schools and businesses and chats on the doorstep – we’ve been working tirelessly to get our message out to all constituents. We’ve also seen excellent performances from Nick Clegg in the leaders’ debates, which have served to motivate us even further in our pledge to get the Lib Dem message across here in Manchester Withington.

Now we reach Polling Day, and it’s over to you!

Nationally, it’s all about the three parties. But here in Manchester Withington, it’s a two-horse race – between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

As your Liberal Democrat MP,  I have worked hard over the past five years to get the best deal possible for Manchester Withington.

In South Manchester, under the Labour Council, we have seen a decision to close Ewing School and the Burnage Walk-in centre. Labour talk about saving local services, but here, they are either responsible for closing them, or they have done nothing to save them.

I am committed to protecting local services here in Manchester Withington, and over the last five years I’ve done everything I can to fight for our area.

Here are a few of things I am committed to:

1. Protecting local services against cuts, it is vital our valuable local services are maintained and protected.
2. Fighting to get Manchester’s £82 million back , that should have been invested in the police to get us more bobbies on the beat
3. Fairness Agenda, four key themes:

  • Fair taxes: We will ensure no-one pays income tax on the first £10,000 they earn. 3.6m low-income workers and pensioners will be freed from paying income tax and millions more will have a tax cut of £700 a year. We’ll pay for it by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the rich, a new tax on mansions worth over £2m, and ensuring polluters pay for the damage they cause.
  • A fair start for all our children: We will get every child the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes. We will spend an extra £2.5bn on schools, targeted at children who need the most help. The average primary school could cut class sizes to 20. An average secondary school could see classes of just 16.  At University level we will scrap tuition fees.
  • A fair future: a rebalanced, green economy: We will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs with a £3.5bn green stimulus and job creation plan in our first year in government, fully funded by cut backs elsewhere. We will break up the banks and rebalance the economy away from unsustainable financial speculation. And we will be honest about where savings must be made in government spending to balance the books and protect our children’s future.
  • A fair deal from politicians: We will introduce a fair voting system to end safe seats and make all MPs listen to people. We will ensure corrupt MPs can be sacked by their constituents and stop non-doms from donating to parties or sitting in Parliament. We will take power from Westminster and give it to councils and communities, with local power over police and the NHS
  • As Nick Clegg has pointed out again and again, neither he, nor me, nor any other candidate are the kingmakers – it is up to you, the people, to decide who you think is worthy of your vote.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that you can and will make a difference at the ballot box.

    Whatever else you do today, please make time to go out and vote – it is your democratic right, and I hope you believe and continue to believe in its power and influence.

    15 responses to “Today you can have real change

    1. please call your pal mr. clegg and kindly tell him to tell Cameron to shove it.

    2. I think if libdems support Tories I would find it impossible to vote for you in future. Policies are so different. Have voted for you in last 2 elections. Be v careful.

    3. John, we voted for you in 2005, and again yesterday, but if the Lib Dems side with the Tories, you’ll have to achieve a lot to get our vote again.

      I cannot see how you can square liberal values of social fairness with the Tories record of cutting public services and help to the most vulnerable in our society.

      Electoral reform is crucial at this stage, and one thing that is required for it to be approved by referendum, is a couple of years of stable, productive coalition government, to demonstrate to the doubters that government is not crippled by coalition. You must provide that stability to have any chance of delivering true democracy.

    4. I think lib dems have much more in common with labour. Why not strike a deal which includes a commitment from labour to change their leader. Another idea if the economy is so bad why don’t all 3 leaders speak to each other to try to sort something?

    5. I am very worried about with these talks with Cameron. I voted Lib Dem to stop the Tories getting in, I would find it very difficult to vote the same again if this happens. Have a word John!

    6. John,

      From the above comments you have an uncomfortable choice.
      You can either sacrifice your political career for the sake of the national interest, or sacrifice the future prosperity of the nation for personal and party interests.

      The extent of the dire financial situation will only become clear with an expenditure review. If the cutting of the deficit is fudged or delayed the more likely it will be that greater and more drastic cuts will be forced upon us later.

    7. Can any of the above explain why they think the libdems or John L owe anything to the Labour Party? If you saw any of the dirty tricks they played here over the last few weeks you would be aghast at a LibLab pact.

      Anyway, people need to get a grip. How can you say that you wouldn’t vote for John again without seeing how he votes on various pieces of legislation, even with Cameron in number 10 John is still your MP and would vote with his heart.

      Nobody knows what the outcome of the talk will be. But it is silly to suddenly say you won’t vote for someone without seeing what they do in parliament.

    8. He can’t vote with his heart; the whip will make him fall in line with all these dirty Tory policies. Yak.

    9. ‘Conservatives can’t win here!’ said John Leech’s election leaflets. You know, the ones that didn’t even mention ‘Nick Clegg’ or ‘Liberal Democrat’ when the election was launched, and then were plastered with pictures of Nick and LibDem logos just after the debates.
      Yeah, ‘Conservatives can’t win here’… well, they can and they have.

      I notice your blog’s gone very quiet. Has your computer broken or something?

      Enjoy your five years in Parliament, Tory Boy, as you won’t get any more.

    10. I did not vote for you, to vote in a tory government full of public schoolboys, fewer women than Brown! and a home secretary who has a dubious voting record on gay rights.

      I am afraid I will not be voting for you again and come next years local elections I will not vote Lib Dem, if you are still in an alliance with the tories.

      What about tuition fees, trident, pulling out of Afghanistan, My god what have i done?

    11. How could you betray the people of Withington who voted for you. Your election leaflets ALL said, the Tories can’t win here. The Tories did win though, didn’t they. YOU let them in. Despite all the protestations that I am sure will come, that you have to follow the leadership of your party, you disgust me with the level of your dishonesty. You, and your party should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves.

      I have voted for you since you were a local council candidate in the mid-90’s. I will NEVER vote for you, or your party again.

      • Did you notice that the early election leaflets just referred to Leech as ‘popular local MP’, hardly mentioned ‘Liberal Democrat’ and didn’t mention Clegg at all? Then, during ‘Cleggmania’, he was plastering pictures of himself with Clegg and a message from Clegg all over the things, along with LibDem logos.

        That’s besides posing as ‘South Manchester News’, to try and trick people that they weren’t reading political propaganda – how patronising are you, Mr Leech, to mix your propaganda with your ‘John Leech recipe spot’, actually a Delia Smith recipe you nabbed off the internet. Have you actually cooked this, ha ha?

        I have never voted for John Leech, as I have always seen him as an opportunist, jumping on whatever bandwaggon the student vote is behind at any particular time. His views on tuition fees went way beyond what Clegg was offering, and so Clegg was intially a non-person in his campaign. Then, all of a sudden, the kids were tweeting how great Nick was, and John Leech was his best buddy and a proud Liberal Democrat! Such a shame Lucy Powell – a genuine locally-born candidate, not a bussed-in Labour apparatchik as Leech tried to imply – couldn’t expose his ‘fairyland’ politics in time.

        In contrast, I have voted for David Sandiford in the past, as he is a nice man who means well and was an excellent mayor. But now I will never vote for any Lib Dems, not even Mr Sandiford, as I may as well vote for the Tories. Clegg’s performance alongside Cameron was sickening yesterday.

        As for our Tory Boy MP, he’ll probably go very quiet on those who couldn’t vote now – if there were the possibility of a re-run in this constituency now, he would be out.

    12. I’m getting worried about Tory Boy… a full week after the election, and we hear nothing from him on here, nothing from him on Twitter. Is he okay? Should we send out a search party for Tory Boy? Heavens, we might have to have a by-election if we can’t find him, this is getting like John Stonehouse…

      mind you, maybe he’s deep in conversation with his new friend Mr Redwood on those comfy government benches and just lost track of time, so I think I’ll start looking there.

        • Interesting…
          Now, I’ve just popped down to his YouTube channel, but he isn’t there either 😦

          I gather there was a Conservative Party Conference fringe event in Birmingham this morning, did anyone spot Tory Boy there? Though I gather it would have been difficult to get in, given that they were using the Robert Mugabe Media Relations Handbook. But maybe someone has some mobile phone footage of Tory Boy there? Because we are extremely concerned for his welfare.

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