Thursday, May 03, 2012


Vote Lib Dem For More Freedom and To Stop Wasting Police Time #PaddickPower

Have you voted yet? The ballot boxes are open until ten for local councils up and down Britain and, where I voted this morning, for the combined London Mayor / Police and Crime Commissioner and for all the London Assembly Members to hold him to account. I’m proud to have voted positively for the Liberal Democrats and Brian Paddick – a Liberal London, fairer, greener, and safer, a serious team and a Mayor with thirty years of police experience. Both in London and nationally, Lib Dems get tough on real crime by stopping wasting police time on petty political targets. In London, Mayor / Commissioner Brian would stop police chasing people for cannabis possession; nationally, the Lib Dems in Government have just made The Protection of Freedoms Act law, rolling back some of Labour’s petty, intrusive, unnecessary powers. Both have the same idea: tackle real crime; don’t waste resources; more freedom. All reversing Labour’s authoritarian, far-right but useless posturing of a new pointless law every day that only caught headlines, not criminals.

Brian Paddick – Police Are Wasted On Cannabis
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I might well go further than Brian, or than the Lib Dems can in London. But I cheered when I saw Brian’s poster – at last, a politician with real life experience and with the guts to say that the thousands of Londoners using cannabis shouldn’t be encouraged but shouldn’t be criminalised, and that the police should get on with catching the real crooks and getting gangsters off the streets. I only wish the Lib Dem campaign had the cash to put that poster on every street – not least because it might make the indistinguishably authoritarian Labour and Tory posers who pretend one joint is the end of civilisation’s heads explode, and then we’d have a clear run for campaigning. Predictably, Labour and Tory politicians have screamed and attacked Brian for it – while bigot UKIP, obviously, have been busy complaining of bigotphobia, saying gays are all insane and should be locked up, and marching through Soho burning pictures of Brian (so much for the mainstream).

Vote Positively for Brian and the Lib Dems – and To Stop the Others, Too

There are negative reasons to vote, too. Because I’m proud that Brian and the Lib Dem team for the London Assembly would do good, but I also want to stop Labour the Tories doing wrong.

It’s a deep-rooted Labour instinct to say ‘Lock people up!’ without thinking – without thinking if it’s possible, or if it’s right, as long as it’s right-wing. I’m very proud of Brian for making a stand on a Liberal policing that doesn’t waste police time when times are tough. I’m proud of his ‘You break it, you fix it’ campaign, championing community service for criminals to pay back, not just disappear into the system to become career criminals.

I don’t trust the Tories an inch when they talk about ‘freedom’ but only for themselves and their mates: remember laid-back Boris’ first Mayoral campaign? Remember his live-and-let live feel? But remember how he attacked Brian over cannabis policing and said coppers should always arrest cannabis users, who are more likely to be poor or black, even though Boris Johnson himself and his mates got away with using cocaine, a much harder drug – but, hey, what’s the point of being privileged if you can’t exercise your privileges and get away with things ordinary people can’t? And I remember how the first thing laid-back Boris did, within hours of becoming Mayor, without ever saying a word about it in the campaign, was to ban alcohol on London Transport – prohibition for the proles, less freedom and just more wasting police time.

I don’t trust Ken Livingstone an inch for the way he and the Labour Government corrupted the police, always getting their cronies to do their bidding to the extent that even some old cronies can’t stomach him any more, worst of all crooked political poodle Ian Blair, supposedly London’s chief copper. And I remember, too, of all the many things to remember about Labour, how the rotten, bullying Labour Government we threw out two years ago inflicted 4,400 new laws on the UK – more than any other government in British history – and how the Lib Dems in Government have pushed against Tory instincts to do the same by putting through the The Protection of Freedoms Act, something we said we’d do in Opposition, and now in Government cutting away snooping powers, state DNA records on innocent people, fingerprinting schoolkids, and clearing the names of people criminalised long ago for consensual same-sex sex. There’s a long way to go, but the Lib Dems are making Britain a more Liberal society, not giving the state more and more power to bully every bit of our lives.

Priorities for a Liberal Democrat Mayor and Assembly

Brian Paddick – I Am Batman
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In Government, even with Labour blowing the economy to bits and leaving an incredible debt to repay, and even having to compromise with the Tories over what they want to do, the Liberal Democrats have still achieved the top four General Election pledges on the front of our Manifesto and more: raising the income tax threshold and cutting taxes for 23 million ordinary working people; the Pupil Premium to help out poorer schoolkids; a fairer economy, tackling the banks, record numbers of apprenticeships, green jobs and the new Green Investment Bank open for business; more open politics; delivering the ‘triple lock’ guarantee for pensions.

You can read Brian Paddick and the Liberal Democrat team for the London Assembly’s Manifesto, too, packed with sensible solutions for London, but here are their five priorities before you vote this evening:
As for Brian Paddick himself – I know his record, I know him, and I trust him. Thirty years of London policing, from the street to the top, showing his abilities and not afraid to stand up for what’s right – even when his bosses tried to shut him up. The UK’s highest-ranking out gay police officer. Someone who pushed the Met to act on police racism, when they pretended there was no problem. Someone who reduced crime by focusing his officers on hard drugs and dealing instead of cannabis possession while commander in Lambeth. Someone who told the truth about the shooting of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, which ultimately cost him his job. Someone who’s shown he can and does build trust in the police across all communities, both to make policing fairer and to make sure the police can police more effectively, and who above all will make London a more equal, more united city.

And what about Boris and Ken? Well, they might talk the talk about equality of opportunity, but they’ve never walked the beat. Boris, laid-back Boris, didn’t bother turning up for the riots last year – when it’s Brian who’s been critical of the police commanders who followed their Mayor’s lead and just sat it out, somewhere else, letting it get worse. And Boris, foot in mouth Boris, well, he says things that offend people, but he doesn’t really mean it – he’s just like that. He just doesn’t give a toss. Then there’s Ken, Ken the tax-dodging hypocrite who does know what he’s doing, Ken who’ll say anything to anyone, anything to get elected, anything to put Ken first. Ken who says rich people shouldn’t be allowed to vote – but then dodges millions of pounds in taxes because, like all rich tax-dodgers, he says he can spend the money better and let all the rest of us ordinary people pay more for everything. Ken who uses the shield of actions against discrimination in the past to excuse his nasty dog-whistles to try and appeal to the homophobic vote and the anti-Semitic vote. Who, me, he says – yes, Ken, you. Always ready to divide London just as long as it gets you on top of it.

If you live outside London but have yet to vote for your local councillor, of course, remember that Lib Dems have always run the greenest local councils; that Lib Dem councils have frozen council tax to help you cope, and that the independent Local Government Chronicle says Lib Dem councils are twice as likely to give pay rises for the lowest paid council workers; and that while Tory and Labour councils are closing libraries all over the place, no Lib Dem council has closed a library. Or you could just vote on national issues, and ask: ‘What have the Lib Dems ever done for us?’ [Click to enlarge]

Lib Dem Achievements Infographic
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Quite a lot, you know. Hat-tip to Mark Pack, who shows it all much bigger.

For more, Millennium Dome, Elephant is proud of Brian, too, while Cicero remembers how the Labour Party crawled to Rupert Murdoch for nearly twenty years and only ever criticised him once they were out of power and he’d dumped them. How the Tories crawled to Rupert Murdoch and did his bidding, too (and now, shockingly the Tories on the Culture Select Committee still do). And how the SNP crawled to Rupert Murdoch… In fact, only one political party ever showed any integrity or any balls around Rupert Murdoch: he tried to bribe us, he tried to threaten us, he told Vince Cable he’d bring down the wrath of god on us if we tried to stand up to him… And, guess what? Only the Lib Dems ever – and always – stood up to Rupert Murdoch before he suddenly fell, after which it took no balls at all to jump on the bandwagon.

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