Tristan Pithers (@TristanPithers) is a member of the Liberal Democrats
It’s the day of local elections across the UK today as well as the vote for the GLA and the eagerly anticipated election of the next Mayor of London. I make an unashamed call for you to get down to your local polling station and put your cross in the box marked ‘Liberal Democrat’. After the media coverage of the Mayoral election in the capital, you would be forgiven for thinking that the choice for London’s voters today is either ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone with his uncosted promises and unpaid taxes or Tory incumbent Boris Johnson, everyone’s favourite political Falstaff. There is a third option, however, in Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick.
This time, for the first time, Londoners are voting for a Mayor of London who will have control over the budgets of the Metropolitan Police and be the new Police and Crime Commissioner for London. After the shameful scenes that were beamed across the world from the riots in London last summer, is now the time to elect someone who knows nothing about policing? Is now the time to re-elect Boris, the man who oversaw the woeful response to the riots and an extraordinary lack of leadership and empathy with London boroughs torn apart by violence? Is it really time for Ken, the man who cannot even unite his own party behind him?
Brian Paddick understands policing after thirty-years at the Met, many of those spent at the very top. He understands what Londoners need from their Police Service and, crucially, how best to deliver it. He hasn’t spent the campaign bickering with Boris and caterwauling at Ken. Instead, he’s been out on the streets, talking to real Londoners about the issues facing real London. So, London, for fairer fares, 360,000 new homes, youth hubs, a commitment to keeping you safe and cleaner, greener transport for the capital, vote Brian Paddick for your Liberal Democrat Mayor.
London is not, of course, the be all and end all of today’s vote. In villages, towns and cities up and down the country local council elections will have a real impact on your day-to-day life. From council tax to rubbish collections, these are the votes that really matter in your street. So why vote Liberal Democrat? Well, not a single Liberal Democrat council in England has raised council tax, something which cannot be said for Labour or the Conservatives. Keeping money in the pockets of working people has driven Liberal Democrats both in Government and locally because this is a party that’s on your side. Liberal Democrats are an activists’ party, not funded by Unions or big business we have to be, and the ethos of every Liberal Democrat councillor in the country is to work for people’s best interests not vested interests.
Fairer taxes, the youth contract, money in the pockets of working families, help for pensioners and true focus on local interests. These are Liberal Democrat values and this is what you will get by voting Liberal Democrat today.