|Today, 24th Feb., saw a response in the Gazette (pg42) from Gerald Francis of Ogmore Lib Dems to my letter some weeks calling for more constructive dialogue between local parties. Following on from the constructive dialogue with Bridgend Conservatives, I hope we can achieve some meaningful dialogue with local Lib Dems now. My reply to Gerald is below:
I read your response in today’s Gazette with interest. I suspect that there was some poor editing by the Gazette – as is their habit – but there are clearly things worth us getting together to discuss.
It would appear that there is some common ground between us with regards to inland wind turbines, but I would certainly like a broader discussion of the many other renewable energy options here in South Wales, and some potentially very disturbing proposals in your constituency of Ogmore.
There ought to be common ground on other topics too. I was a Lib Dem for many years after all. Your accusation of having a disingenuous snipe was, I presume, in regard to my comment about broken promises over tuition fees. Let me clarify. It is the nature of coalition government that compromises have to be made. I have voiced support for the Lib Dem role in blunting the cutting knife of the Tories and in securing a few key strands of your manifesto – such as raising the tax threshold. However, there were clearly misjudgments on the tuition fees issue that have caused the Lib Dems greater problems than they foresaw. It would be disingenuous of you to suggest anything different.
However, I empathise with your predicament in this matter. I would be interested in discussing your perspective on coalition government from a grass roots perspective, bearing in mind that it is a predicament that we currently aspire to.
As I have said to others, as a minority party, we will look to offer constructive support on areas of common concern. We will also, however, hold people to account for broken pledges and misrepresentations – in any area of policy. I am sure you would feel much the same.
You appear to be keen to meet sometime next week. I would love to get together, but next week is especially difficult for me, and Mondays and Thursdays are always difficult. Could I therefore suggest either Tuesday 8th or Wednesday 9th March – at a venue that suits you. It can be just me and you, or would you prefer to include colleagues?
I look forward to continued dialogue.