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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Liberal Democrats are reactive - response to Roger Williams MP

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for taking time to read and draw attention to my blog and thank you for your letter dated 9th December which I read with a degree of bemusement. I would be grateful if you could explain in what capacity you are writing as there is no form of recognition or a return address in the letter. I sense that you are an unwilling participant in this attempted rebuff and I will apologise to you if this is not the case.

However, I shall not be issuing an apology for highlighting the deficiencies of the Liberal Democrats in Ceredigion, rather it is the Liberal Democrats who should be issuing an apology for not providing the level of representative service we expect in Ceredigion. I shall explain why.

Liberal Democrat press releases in Ceredigion normally have “agrees”, “welcomes”, “annoyed”, “dismayed” as actions in the initial sentence, these to me are ‘reactive’ observations which seek to associate the Liberal Democrats with the good work of others. It is rather superficial and Ceredigion deserves better than this. The criticism that you are a reactive party is perfectly valid.

I note your comment on the cross party campaign on Post Offices. Are you aware that your colleague has recently distributed leaflets claiming that this was a Liberal Democrat campaign and gives no credit whatsoever to the involvement of other parties? I think you have been misinformed on the Liberal Democrat commitment to cross party campaigns. Whilst the campaign in Powys did succeed in saving some Post Offices, no such success occurred in Ceredigion and it is only fair to ask why? Mark told me himself that we were within inches of a Judicial Review on Post Office closures yet nothing has materialised let alone explained.

I would also ask you to take time to read the Impact Assessment produced by HMRC on the future of the Aberystwyth Tax Office, and in particular paragraph 4.5. External Engagement. There is no reference to a response by Ceredigion County Council, and indeed there was none. Cabinet responsibility in Ceredigion for Economic Development is a matter for the Liberal Democrats. It appears that the Liberal Democrat councillor did not respond to the consultation by HMRC and was indeed criticised by in a Ceredigion County Council meeting for “having his eyes shut” at the time. I hope you will join me in criticising this serious oversight which in all probability did make “matters worse” for Aberystwyth. It is unlikely that a senior Liberal Democrat Councillor would operate without consulting an MP of his own party, particularly if, as you are asserting, that Mark Williams MP’s involvement was “proactive”. Why didn’t he notice this gaping oversight?

Accusations of negative campaigning coming from Liberal Democrats are pure hypocrisy. We are all familiar with your campaigning techniques and you demean yourself by making such accusations. I can provide you with a list if you so wish.

The bottom line in Ceredigion is that Plaid Cymru delivers for Ceredigion and the Liberal Democrats continually snipe from the sides. Plaid Cymru has prevented health cuts and saved Bronglais Hospital from being downgraded, has secured additional funds to develop the hospital and with the National Assembly Agriculture Department moving to Aberystwyth, has secured high quality jobs for the area.

An MP should be proactive and be a productive source of ideas that benefit the electorate. That is why I have proposed that Aberystwyth University should establish a Vet school and am currently campaigning for communities in Ceredigion to have wider access to Communities First/Next funds to combat child poverty. There are areas in Ceredigion where this is a serious issue. In order to have an adult debate on these matters can you please tell me precisely what are the priorities and policies the Liberal Democrat have for Ceredigion?

It is the addiction to pavement politics that is contributing to the vulnerability of Liberal Democrat seats in the forthcoming General Election. If the sum response amounts to accusations, misrepresentations and superficiality then you are already under pressure. If Mark Williams MP remains aggrieved then please ask him to contact me.

Yours sincerely
Penri James

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